Wed 24 May 2023 3:13 pm - Jerusalem Time
Georgian Prime Minister: Imposing sanctions on Russia will "destroy" our economy
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said Wednesday during the Qatar Economic Forum that his country cannot afford to impose sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine, because that would "destroy" its economy.
Amid international criticism, Garibashvili defended his country's failure to take action against its neighbor Russia, which occupied about 20% of Georgia's territory in the 2008 war.
Garibashvili's government refused to impose economic sanctions on Moscow. Direct flights between Russia and Georgia, which had been suspended since 2019, resumed last week, sparking protests against this at Tbilisi Airport.
Garibashvili said before the forum held in Doha, "If we impose any form of economic sanctions on Russia, we will not only harm Georgia, but also destroy our economy and threaten the interests of our country and our people," noting that the volume of trade with Russia amounts to one billion dollars a year.
Garibashvili criticized the international community for not taking any measures during the war between his country and Russia in 2008, including the imposition of sanctions.
"Where is the logic? Our war was not a war and the Ukrainian war is a war? I must say we were very disappointed because business continued as usual with Russia after the 2008 war," he asked.
He added, "As a result of that war, and it was a devastating war, Russia seized 20 percent of our lands. Russia established two military bases on our historical lands."
And he continued, "What I want to say to my European and American friends is the following: My dear friends, you have continued business as usual with Russia, no one has imposed sanctions on Russia" at the time.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine was a major topic at the Qatar Economic Forum. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Tuesday before the forum that Ukraine cannot win militarily in the war with Russia.
In this regard, Garibashvili said: "Nobody knows" how the war in Ukraine will end.
"Unfortunately, we do not see any indication that this war will end soon," he said, adding, "I should also say that we do not see enough efforts from the international community to take appropriate measures to encourage consultation, to encourage peace talks."
On the other hand, a former senior general in the US Army, David Petraeus, a former head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), told the forum that he believes that Orban is "completely on the wrong side of what will be history."
Petraeus stressed that with the support of the United States and European countries, Ukraine is preparing to achieve major gains in the face of Russian forces.