Irakli Beraia, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Parliament of Georgia, spoke about Georgian-American relations live on Imedi TV a few days ago and noted that the strategic partnership between the two countries is at the highest level, both in terms of scale and quality. He said that these achievements are reflected in all areas defined by the partnership, however, there has been particular progress in political and military cooperation, which is reflected in strong bipartisan support on the one hand and multimillion-dollar financial assistance on the other. “In the field of defense, this includes bilateral military consultations, military assistance of an unprecedented scale, including security framework agreements. Also noteworthy is the co-operation in the political sphere, which includes strong bipartisan support, and this is reflected in a number of legal acts. Cooperation in the trade and economic sphere is also important. “US foreign investment in Georgia exceeded $ 100 million in 2019, and in previous years we also had a steadily growing dynamic in the direct foreign investments.”
Let us remind you that the House of Representatives of the United States Congress has approved a bill on foreign operations and related programs, which also talks about Georgia. The document states that Georgia will receive at least $ 132 million in aid in 2021, but stresses that 15 percent of that aid will be suspended until the US Secretary of State determines and submits to the Appropriations Committee whether the government is pursuing an effective policy to strengthen democratic institutions.
What is the current Georgian-American partnership, what kind of cooperation does it involve specifically and what does all this bring to Georgia – these and other important issues are discussed by human rights activist Nana Kakabadze.
– Ms. Nana, if we believe the statement made by Irakli Beraia, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, on TV, the Georgian-American strategic cooperation is at the highest level. He said that cooperation in the military field is being carried out on an unprecedented scale. Is this statement real and adequate? What kind of cooperation is there between Tbilisi and Washington today and what will it actually give to Georgia?
– Unfortunately, in recent years, it has become a kind of political tradition for the authorities to throw slogans in the air without substantiating the validity of these slogans. For example, Saakashvili chanted the slogan that we are a pro-Western force. At that time, there really was no more anti-Western force than the “National Movement” with its “values”, its reactionary and repressive policies; They used to say that Georgia has taken incredible steps on the path of democratic development, but what that nine-year-old bloody government had in common with democracy is simply incomprehensible … As for the statement of the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee On the mark. To be honest, I have not heard this statement, but it would be good if journalists would come to him and ask him, what exactly is reflected in this cooperation at the “highest level” and, most importantly, what result has brought or is bringing all this for our country today …
– Do you want to say that Mr. Beraia’s statement is a slogan fired in the same air as Saakashvili used to shoot in his time?
– Of course, this is an unfounded, unsubstantiated and incorrect statement. What is a strategic partnership? The fact that you are blackmailed by the judiciary and told that criminals should not be punished ?! That they intimidate the court with a wave of their finger and release the criminals of the nine-year regime as political prisoners ?! If you mean it, it really is at the highest level. Show us the rest of what our partnership and alliance looks like. By the way, government officials often emphasize that the participation of our military contingent in international security missions is paramount, which is why Georgia today has the strong support of Washington. First of all, any objective military expert will tell you that participating in these missions places a very heavy burden on our budget and as a result we get practically nothing. The second, what they call White House support, is actually some verbal support expressed at the statement level that has little substantial effect in real politics. This was very evident in August 2008, when statements were made but did not prevent Russian military action. However, this is already another topic.
As for funding and monetary aid, the fact that the government is lying here too, and the country is not actually helping, but making the heaviest commitments to the West, has reappeared these days. I mean, the US Congress has directly stated the terms of its assistance to Georgia, and, by the way, quite understandably, everything has been said without diplomatic hesitation. As you know, there was talk of $ 132 million in aid and we were told directly that you would not receive this aid if you did not carry out some democratic reforms … Can you imagine what would happen? After all, the court overthrew us, the criminals were released, the “Nazi regime” was given a green light, and now, just three months before the elections, they are starting political blackmail: if you do not do that, you will not receive funding. I have said before and I will repeat: if we are a normal state and have a decent government, after such a statement, the diplomatic mission of that country would be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a protest note would be issued. But we are not a state and we do not have a normal government. This came at a time when Saakashvili’s appointment to Ukraine has not been met with retaliatory action.
– What should have followed?
– I think, at least, all this should have been reflected in the trade direction, even if we refused to import products from Ukraine. Ager is Belarusian and could freely replace Ukrainian with Ukrainian products. However, the government, which has no responsibility and its only concern is to maintain its power, which it even manages to do with the slavish obedience of the West, obviously could not take such a dignified step, that is why we are today, in fact, a respected state. Its policies. However, I do not think that the government did not realize that this slavery and greed are increasingly breaking in the eyes of the public in the West. The society already has a heart for this policy and not only for politics, but for the political spectrum as a whole, which does not have a single percent chance of winning a normal, objective election …
– As we talk about Western support, we will ask you about the recent situation in the conflict regions and the political role of Europe or the United States in resolving this problem. A few days ago, the Public Defender responded to the abduction of a Georgian citizen by the Russians near the de facto border with South Ossetia, saying that the government should do everything possible to help the international community stand on its own two feet. He said that this problem can be solved only with the active support of the West and its constant pressure on Russia. Do you think it is time for Georgia to think about a direct dialogue with Moscow to resolve its territorial problems?
– I simply can not comment on the statements and assessments of the Public Defender Lomjaria, because I do not consider her a Public Defender, sometimes, in general, I think she is out of the norm. I do not know, this may be a problem of his health and, from a purely medical point of view, curative, leaves such an impression. As for direct dialogue with Russia, I am not in power and I do not claim to be in the future, so people who have ambitions to come to power should talk about this, but I can say one thing for sure: if I were to come to power, I would aim for dialogue with them in n whose hands is the key to Georgia’s territorial problems …
– Do you think this is possible under the current government?
– In the conditions of this government, unfortunately, I no longer hope for anything, because, for almost 30 years now, we have been spinning in the same circle in vain. We have not come to the conclusion that spinning in the same political circle has one outcome – either zero or even worse. What else to tell you – either they do not consciously come to this conclusion and betrayal takes place, or their mental abilities are weak. In any case, the result is the same – the state collapses and suffers. As time goes on, we are increasingly far from all goodness, including the prospect of solving territorial problems.
Interviewed by Jaba Zhvania