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PM answers question of foreign media

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, December 19
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili met with the foreign media. On the event organized by the Georgian Development Research Institute (GDRI), Ivanishvili met with 21 journalists from Berliner Zeitung, Independent, The Daily Telegraph, Le Temps, France 24, Le Figaro, TV TF-1 and other foreign media companies.

Georgia’s internal and foreign policy, relations with other countries and the detentions of former high-ranking officials were among the main issues discussed behind the closed doors on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister summarized the session for the Georgian media after the meeting with foreign journalists. He said the foreigners were interested in the new Georgian government’s relations with their predecessors. The PM said he “maximally assured” the foreign guests that “selective justice” and “political persecution” will never be exercised in Georgia.

Reuter’s Georgian correspondents Maka Antidze said the foreign journalists were interested in Georgia’s cooperation with Russia. Antidze said they also had questions surrounding the recent visit of Zurab Abashidze’s special envoy for Relations with Russia in Geneva and the particular outcome of the meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin.

Welcoming Abashidze’s meeting with Karasin, Bidzina Ivanishvili hoped that he would meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin or PM Dmitri Medvedev in the near future. ¬He said although Abashidze and Karasin focused on trade and economic relations and the restoration of regular flights between Georgia and Russia, Ivanishvili estimated the visit as very interesting. “It is important that the process has started,” Ivanishvili said, hoping that the situation with restoring Georgia’s territorial integrity will become clear and the country will “restore everything that legally belongs to Georgia.”

“All our steps will be transparent. We will be principled in our activities towards Russia,” said Ivanishvili.

Journalist of the Public Broadcaster of France said the French people are interested in how Georgia plans to restore relations with Russia without suspending relations with the EU and NATO. The French journalist said France has had experience with cohabitation but “aggression among the politicians is less.”

The foreign journalists met with other governmental figures on Monday.

The two-day conference called Open Government aimed at providing foreign media with the answers to their questions directly from the government. Executive Director of GDRI, Teona Akubardia, said the foreign media is actively interested in the policy of the new Georgian government. She said the meeting with Bidzina Ivanishvili followed the recent critical articles in Western media.