Diplomatic truth about Georgia21.11.2012 | 18:10
Georgian Ambassador to Ukraine Grigol Katamadze told about the past and future of Georgia, about a vector of economic reforms in the country and whether bipolar political forces may find a common language.
"The past election in Georgia can be called a historical phenomenon, when the change of power by peaceful means in the post-Soviet space took place. Georgia has had no such experience. And if we look at the situation before it becomes clear that a change of government took place either through armed means, or under pressure from the street, no matter how it was called. So the first time Georgia has made a very important step towards democracy and civil society. I think, therefore, we have demonstrated that we are a part of Europe in the mental sense", said ambassador in an interview with "Observer".
"Now we need to move on. In my view, we must learn to work in a very difficult situation when different political forces represented in power. Yes, after the parliamentary election political scenario in Georgia has changed. But the political force, which was in power for 9 years, has not disappeared. Now pro-government party went into opposition. Majority in parliament belongs to the "Georgian Dream", which nominated Mr. Bidzina Ivanishvili as the Prime Minister", said Katamadze.
"My deep conviction is that Georgia will not return to the past. In my opinion, political force, which spent 9 years of reform in Georgia, and a new political force, which has only come to power through parliamentary election - they will find a common language. Look: New political force, which has a majority in parliament, and also fully represents the executive power, today may conduct a dialogue with the President of Georgia. None of the candidates proposed by the new political force into the executive power, has been challenged by the president of the country", the diplomat said.
"I am confident that reforms will be continued, as well as the course on tourists and investors attraction. Key message of the renewed power: the world must be confident: Georgia is a safe country, so you can come here, not only to rest, but also to build business", he added.
"I think that we all understand, including the new government, that our country, unfortunately, does not have such resource potential as the energy, which could make us an interesting business partner for many countries. So Georgia has to create such broad terms in the economy to make the potential investor interested to come and do business here", said Katamadze.
"I must say that nature has created a unique environment in Georgia. Plus, over the centuries we have managed to accumulate a lot of interesting cultural values. All this is very interesting from the tourist point of view. We'd like to note that today the geography of tourists coming to Georgia has increased from the former Soviet space to the whole world. We understand that we must create the appropriate conditions for tourism development. There should be a high-level security. In addition, we must constantly develop infrastructure", said the Georgian ambassador.
Katamadze declined to comment on a wave of arrests in the country. "There are different views on this issue. There are reasons to suggest there are political motivates. In turn, the government and law enforcement authorities claim there are elements of the offenses, crimes, etc. It is difficult to assess, because today, the judiciary has applied to former Interior Minister a measure in the form of detention. I'm not a politician, so I cannot give a political assessment of the situation", he said.
The diplomat also said that Georgia's Euro-Atlantic course remains in force. "If the foreign visits mean something, then we can say that the Prime Minister has already made the first step starting his first working visit on November 12, in Brussels. And at a meeting with the leaders of the European Union, it was stated that we hope to sign Association Agreement in 2013, which includes a free trade agreement and the agreement on further liberalization of the visa regime. In addition, on November 14, Prime Minister met with the NATO Secretary General. At this meeting they also spoke about the possibility of Georgia's integration into NATO", he said.
"At the same time the Prime Minister said he would look for forms and opportunities to improve relations with Russia. I still do not know these forms and opportunities. Only thing I know clearly from the words of Foreign Minister Ms. Maya Panjikidze is that restoration of diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation is impossible as long as 20% of the territory of Georgia is Russia-occupied, and until the Embassies of the Russian Federation are located in Georgia - in Tskhinval, in South Ossetia, and Sukhum, Abkhazia", said the Ambassador.
"Several times the Prime Minister of Georgia mentioned that Georgia initially intended to develop the economic field, and in the cultural field. I think we should all welcome this initiative. I have always said that we need to find ways improving relations with Russia", said Katamadze.