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Opposition summons Energy Minister to Parliament

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, March 15
The parliamentary opposition once again summoned Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze to Parliament to answer questions over the new gas deal between Georgia and Russia’s energy giant Gazprom, as well as the minister’s most recent statement that gas tariffs may increase.

A member of the European Georgia opposition Gigi Tsereteli said the consistent refusals of Kaladze to answer the questions could cause an “institutional dispute”.

“Kaladze said that gas tariffs may increase. In this situation it is even more interesting what the Russia-Georgia gas deal is. We need answers as to why we will have to pay more for gas in the future,” Tsereteli said.

“The Minister says outside Parliament that the government has nothing to hide over the deal with Russia. If this is true then why he is avoiding coming and responding to our questions?” Tsereteli added.

In January this year, the Government of Georgia accepted Gazprom’s demand to receive money instead of natural gas in exchange for Russia’s gas transit to Armenia via Georgia.

Previously, Georgia received 10% of all natural gas that Russia sent to Armenia through Georgia.

Last year, Russia raised the same demand; however, the same Georgian Dream Government of Georgia was proud to say they managed to get Russia to provide Georgia with natural gas rather than money, as this was “more beneficial” for Georgian interests.

After the new deal with Gazprom, Georgia’s Minister of Energy Kakhi Kaladze said Georgia accepted an “optimal offer” that would never make the country dependent on Russian gas.

The Minister refrained from naming a concrete sum that Georgia will receive from Russia, only saying “we will get nearly the same result as it was in case of directly receiving natural gas”.

However, the Deputy Energy Minister said the previous agreement was more beneficial from a financial point of view.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili also stated the new deal wasn’t beneficial and promised the people would receive as many answers as possible without breaching any confidentiality agreements.

The deal is interesting for the population of Georgia; the government of Georgia is obliged at least to say what price the country will receive for the gas' transit.

The Parliament of Georgia is composed of lawmakers who are elected by the people, and ministers and other government members have certain obligations to respond to questions the people have, as they are supposed to represent the public.