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Ivanishvili responds to journalists

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, July 4
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili held a press-conference for journalists on July 3. The PM covered both domestic and foreign issues.

Ivanishvili stated that solving Georgia's territorial disputes does not depend only on Russia. He stressed that Russia is indeed a main player in the game, but if Georgia manages to transform into an attractive state, residents of the occupied regions might begin to re-evaluate where the best place to live is.

Ivanishvili stated that he would meet with the Russian president, but at the present moment there is no appropriate situation for the meeting.

Ivanishvili highlighted that after the state administration came to power, the NATO integration process became more intense.

Ivanishvili spoke about the deepening of relations with Israel and stated that there are some directions in relations that would be regulated with Armenia.

Concerning domestic issues, Ivanishvili stated that it is impossible that former officials did not have knowledge of the confidential video footage discovered recently in western Georgia. He highlighted that the making of such videos required too many financial resources.

Ivanishvili stressed that the restoration of justice is extremely significant for the Georgian Dream government and shifted attention to those bodies that play a key role in this regard.

According to Ivanishvili, the election of the Supreme Council of Justice was carried out freely and the negative statements expressed by some members of the Georgian Dream regarding the process “were not correct.”

“We do not have an ideal court or prosecutor’s office. What has happened regarding the Supreme Council of Justice was the choice of the judges. The most important aspect is that the government does not get involved in the actions of the court and the work of the prosecutor’s office. Step-by-step, judges will realize our attitude and they are becoming more impartial in their decisions,” Ivanishvili stated.

On the recent arrests of the Tbilisi mayor’s office employees, Ivanishvili stated that the time for their arrest was “wrongly chosen, as the NATO seminar was ongoing at that time.” Ivanishvili mentioned that if there were some violations concerning the arrests, they will be investigated.

“However, the fact that I had no information concerning the events is a sign that the country is not ruled from the center,” Ivanishvili said.

Ivanishvili also stated that he will be interested in Vladimer Bedukadze’s case (the man who made the torture videos public last September and then released on bail). The PM explained that if this man took part in the torture of prisoners, he should not have been released from responsibility.

The PM criticized the president for his past and current activities. According to him, Saakashvili “has no idea what economic development means.” The PM stated that the development of the economy depends on how competitive the country’s market is. “The only role of the government in this field is to establish such laws that would encourage the process,” Ivanishvili said, adding that the president’s later decision regarding the date of the presidential election also framed Mikheil Saakashvili’s personality in a negative way.

Ivanishvili stressed that the rights of sexual and religious minorities should be protected in the country. “If some Georgians do not let the representatives of other religious minorities pray, the government will ensure this right,” Ivanishvili stated.

Regarding future plans, Ivanishvili stressed that he will not leave politics until there is an adequate economic situation in the country. “I have stated before that the economy acts as the basis of the state's development. I sacrificed myself when I decided to step into politics and I will do my best to help in the country's revival. When I decide to go, I will work in a capacity that best serves the country,” Ivanishvili said, adding that he will leave behind a strong Chamber of Control and state structures.

The PM underlined that the Karsi-Akhalkalaki railway is being constructed more intensively.

“The Abkhazian railway will be restored as well. However, currently the issue is too politicized. We will reopen the railway when questions are removed on the topic,” Ivanishvili said.

The PM stated that more than 100 enterprises will be financed this year. He also suggested that the construction of a new airport is not excluded. PM informed that in the framework of the Shah Deniz gas pipeline $2 billion USD investment will be undertaken in Georgia.

“I do not exclude the possibility that the budget of the Invest Fund in Georgia will be increased up to 10 billion GEL and I will be one of the participants using my capital,” Ivanishvili stated.