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Ivanishvili answers journalists

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, September 5
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili already has in mind his potential replacement and he believes that presidential candidate of the Georgian Dream, Giorgi Margvelashvili, has no real opponent in the presidential race. PM Ivanishvili made the statements during his meeting with the media on September 4.

Ivanishvili refrained from naming the substitute, but did confirm that he has someone in mind. He stressed that the presidential elections are the most significant now and predicts that Margvelashvili will win in the first round of the elections.

“I do not think that Margvelashvili will lose. In the case he does lose the elections it would be a sign that I failed. In this case I would not stay in politics any longer,” Ivanishvili said.

The PM categorically denied speculations that he plans to rule the government from the side when he leaves politics.

“I came into politics when it was the most dangerous and I was not afraid… I put me and my family’s life at risk. In general, people who want to rule the country from side are those who failed to come to power. I managed to win the elections and why should I run or rule the situation from the shadows?” Ivanishvili stated.

“Business is waiting on edge in Georgia…businessmen are waiting for the presidential elections. They know that the new government will not press them. However, they need time to move to action from thinking… it is a natural process,” Ivanishvili stated, adding that he is sure that by taking Georgian potential and the current government’s strategy into account, Georgia has a chance to become “the second Dubai.”

“We are following the path that was created and fulfilled by developed European states and the U.S. We are not going to carry out unreasonable experiments on our people like the former administration,” Ivanishvili said.

Despite the negative role of the UNM, according to Ivanishvili, he is glad that the coalition did not use the methods of the UNM and took the foreign community’s appeals into account.

“Members of the UNM are our citizens as well. There are many talented people in their rows and I believe that when cohabitation is ended, many of them will serve their country,” Ivanishvili stated.

Ivanishvili also voiced that the Secretary of the Security Council, Giga Bokeria, “has no questions with him concerning Russia and Bokeria no longer takes him as a Russian spy.”

Concerning the foreign policy, Ivanishvili stressed that he persuaded Georgia’s major strategic partner the United States that his leaving of politics will not make the situation worse in the country.

“We should preserve the course we have and deepen the relations more with our strategic partner, for the U.S. to be also interested in relations with us,” Ivanishvili said.

The PM also acknowledged Russia is not interested in increasing its influence on Georgia and separatist regions are problem for Russia as well. Ivanishvili stated that Russia recently suggested assistance to Georgia concerning Syria.

“A Russian colleague called to our envoy to Russia, Zurab Abashidze, and suggested that they offer assistance in taking out Georgian citizens from Syria,” Ivanishvili stated.

Ivanishvili has no position concerning the Eurasian Union. He stressed that he is observing and studying the organization.

The parliamentary minority repeated its position after Ivanishvili’s press conference, stating that Ivanishvili is basically running from politics and his statements concerning the Eurasian Union are “catastrophic.”

“The statement concerning the Eurasian Union made by the Prime Minister today is dangerous for the state interests. Georgians have confirmed through the referendum that our goal is NATO and even theoretical thinking on the Eurasian Union is betraying the chosen course,” the UNM MP, Goka Gabashvili said.

Bokeria stressed that he has never called Ivanishvili a“Russian spy”. However, he believes that many steps made by the PM’s team weakens Georgia and are in Russian interests.

Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, responded to the UNM statements, explaining that membership of the Eurasian Union is not topical question.