Kobakhidze on Fighting Terrorism, Russian Aggression and Foreign Policy Priorities

  • FrontNewsInternationalOlgaKononenko

    Front News International/Olga Kononenko

  • FrontNewsInternationalOlgaKononenko

    Front News International/Olga Kononenko

  • FrontNewsInternationalOlgaKononenko

    Front News International/Olga Kononenko

KYIV (FNI) – Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of the Georgian Parliament, between meetings with Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman and President Petro Poroshenko gave an exclusive interview to Front News International during his three-day working visit to Kyiv. Kobakhidze told about the suppression by Georgian special services of the recruitment of citizens by terrorist ogranizations, about Russian aggression, the priorities of the country's foreign policy and the situation around Jerusalem.

FRONT NEWS INTERNATIONAL  Georgia has become the next country to decimalize marijuana. In Georgia church has the really ‘heavy voice’. Why didn’t you include church into the negotiation process on this law?

IRAKLI KOBAKHIDZE – Constitutional court of Georgia made the decision about decriminalizing marijuana. It was not full decriminalization but it was the Constitutional court decision and now we are working on the legislation in order to make it line with Constitutional court decision. And that is the ongoing process. Of course we will have consultations with Ministry, with experts and of course we will have consultations with the Georgian church which has its own opinion about this issue. Final decision will be made according to these consultations.

FNI  What about the former Prime Minister of Georgia Mr. Ivanishvili? Do you contact to him? And is he involving into Georgian politics right now?

IK – It was mister’s Ivanishvili decision not to be involved into political process. He was the Prime Minister more than one year and then he decided to leave the political live. It was his decision. He was still involved in the political process until the last parliamentary elections which was in October 2016 but now according to his decision he is not involved in political life anymore. It was his decision. He is the founder of the political party I represent, ‘Georgian Dream’, but he is not representing in a politics anymore.

FNI – Few weeks ago so-called president of occupied Georgian region of South Ossetia Mr.Bibilov has been visiting Donetsk, the occupied area of Ukraine. Ukrainian authorities didn’t react on it. What’s your opinion that Georgian occupied territory chief coming to occupied Ukrainian territories?

IK – It is the part of the Russian aggression policy towards Georgia and Ukraine. We have the very similar challenges. That is the part of aggressive policy. Of course that creates the most important national challenge for us – the occupation of our two regions where the Russian side fully controls the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and it is most important goal for us to solve this problem. But we are a small country. It is not only up to us to ensure solution of this problem. And support from the international stakeholders, our strategic partners are very important and we are very thankful to the international community which pays attention to this problem and also the cooperation between Ukraine and Georgia is very important.

FNI – Right now in Georgia it is ongoing big lawsuit according to this are – northern Caucasus – situation in the Pankisi Gorge. There are a lot of question on it. And how do you think the situation with this militant Chataev will give the answers on these question?

IK – It is very important that all different cases are fully investigated and the Georgian agencies work hard on that. We had problems of linkage on the certain citizens of Georgia to the terrorist organizations. International terrorist organizations managed to recruit the Georgian citizens for their purposes, for their goals. And that was a problem. Finally, our security services managed to stop the process which was very important for us. That is the current situations but we should pay very high attention to this issue in general. And we are hopeful that this linkage between the citizens of Georgia and different terrorist organizations will not be reestablished.

FNI – The same person so-called president of occupied South Ossetia Mr. Bibilov he was visiting also the Serbia. Do you think that Georgia should work more on issues of occupied territories in the international policy?

IK  We work very hardly, also the parliament of Georgia is involved in this process of non-recognition of the occupied regions, one of the most important tasks for us. We work very hardly, we’re using, we are planning different formats, bilateral formats, multilateral formats. And we play successful. So far, approaches the challenges and challenges problems remain. But our policies quite successful in this aspect.

FNI  What Georgian parliament should do on the international policy?

IK  Of course parliament is a very important stakeholder and in this regard we have adopted the special parliamentary resolution on the foreign policy of Georgia. And it stated very clearly in this resolution, that our main foreign policy calls European integration and integration with NATO and it also outlines that United States is the most important strategic partner for Georgia. The parliament has very clear vision on the international policy and we’re planning different formats, different instruments in order to ensure achievement of the foreign policy, goals of our country. We are involved in different parliamentary assembles, we have the bilateral meetings and visits with our friends, with our partners. And this is the role the parliament is playing at this moment. The parliament of Georgia is very active, and international dimension we have a very ambitious team, especially at the field of developing international ties and cooperation. They are very ambitious and they are very skilled. And the parliament again plays a very important role along with the executed branch with the government, with the ministry of foreign affairs.

FNI  As the United States is the most important partner abroad what do you think on the Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plans to move US embassy to Jerusalem?

IK  First of all, we have a very strong cooperation with the new US administration, it was very important to keep very strong cooperation with US under the new administration. And we are successful in this regard, we had exchange of high-level visits, prime-minister of Georgia visited the US and he had meetings with president, vice-president, state secretary, and later on vice-president Mike Pence visited Georgia and he declares the very strong messages in support of Georgia which is very important for us. The cooperation between the US and Georgia is of a strategic importance for our country. We are cooperating with the US on different issues, as of the issue of Jerusalem, there was a voting as you know, in the United Nations, and Georgian side declares its position by abstaining from voting. That is our position and this moment, this kind of question should be discussed with our international partners, with different stakeholders and finally this should have made on these kind of consultations.

FNI  And maybe later Georgia will change its opinion on the Jerusalem’s issue?

IK – The consultations will create a basis on any decision this matter and we will have consultations with our partners.

Alexander Khrebet, Diana Kolodiazhna, Olga Kononenko

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