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PM Gharibashvili is against joining sanctions against Russia

By Ana Robakidze
Friday, August 7
Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili suspects that some powers in Georgia are trying hard to hamper the settling relations with Russia.

“I do not doubt internal forces resist the restoration of economic relations with Russia. We have an intention to have good relations with our neighbor. The process is on, but we still have two major problems: Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Gharibashvili said at the press conference on August 6.

According to the PM it is not desirable for Georgia to join the EU initiated sanction imposed on Russia. The EU imposed 15 different sanctions of economic type on Russia, Georgia has joined only one out of 15 and banned import only those products that are manufacture in Crimea and Sevastopol.

“I personally opposed the idea of Georgia joining the EU sanctions…we have had this position since last year and we do not plan to change it. The only sanction joined by Georgia last year concerned products manufactured in Crimea and Sevastopol. As you know, we have the same situation in Samachablo and Abkhazia. So, it was an inevitable necessity (to join the sanction) due to our non-recognition policy.” Gharibashvili said, when he was asked if Georgia’s decision to join one of the EU sanctions against Russia was the reason for Moscow to start talks about putting an embargo on Georgian wine.

Earlier this week, Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) said that some of the Georgian wines imported to Russia do not meet quality and safety standards. Also, Russian PM Dmitri Medvedev ordered his government to consider counter measures and restrict import of products for the countries that have joined EU initiated sanctions imposed on Russia.

Commenting on the possible Russian embargo, the Georgian PM’s special representative on relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, said it would be a wrong decision if Moscow re-imposes ban on import of Georgian products. The ban was lifted 2 years ago as a result of Prague talks between Abashidze and Russian foreign minister Igor Karasin and Georgian wine and mineral waters returned to Russian market. In 2014 Georgia exported to Russia products with 274.9 million USD.