News / Europe

Georgia PM Hopes Ukraine Will Choose Europe

FILE - Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili speaks during a press conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 3, 2014.
FILE - Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili speaks during a press conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 3, 2014.
Reuters
— Georgian Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili on Tuesday urged Ukraine to consider following his country's path of integration with the West through increased trade and investment, as it grapples with its future.
 
In an interview with Reuters in Washington, where he met President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for talks, Garibashvili said he was concerned that the political upheaval in Ukraine could destabilize the wider region.
 
His visit to Washington and another next week by Moldova's prime minister are aimed at showing U.S. support for two former Soviet republics that are undergoing a transformation and have balked at pressure from Russia.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden (R) meet with Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili (L) in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., Feb. 24, 2014.U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden (R) meet with Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili (L) in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., Feb. 24, 2014.
x
U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden (R) meet with Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili (L) in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., Feb. 24, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden (R) meet with Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili (L) in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., Feb. 24, 2014.
“Of course the recent developments may have implications on the wider region and that's why we are concerned,” said Garibashvili. “I very much hope that Ukraine will go back to its path to its European choice,” he added while emphasizing it was up to Ukrainians to decide which path to follow.
 
Still, he added: “I think the Georgian way is something that they should look at and should consider.”
 
Like Ukraine, Georgia has also been caught in the middle of a tug-of-war between integrating with Europe and the West or staying under the influence of Moscow.
 
While Georgia initialed an accord in November to deepen trade and cooperation with the European Union, Ukraine bowed to pressure from Moscow and suspended plans to sign trade and other deals with the EU.
 
Unrest erupted in Ukraine after President Viktor Yanukovich abandoned a proposed trade pact with the EU in November and turned instead toward Moscow, which offered loans and cheaper supplies of natural gas. In a dramatic turn of events at the weekend, Ukraine's parliament voted Yanukovich out of office and set early presidential elections for May 25.
 
Russia is trying to maintain its influence over the newly-independent states it dominated during the Soviet era, especially those with energy pipelines and large ethnic Russian communities.
 
Garibashvili said he was particularly concerned with reports on Tuesday of protests in Russian-speaking Crimea on Ukraine's southern peninsula where there have been calls to secede from Ukraine.
 
While Georgia is further from Moscow's orbit than Ukraine, tensions between Russia and Georgia have remained high after a 2008 war over two Moscow-backed breakaway regions. Garibashvili said Russian forces had recently resumed installing a barbed wire fence on the border of breakaway South Ossetia.
 
While he expected such actions from Russia to continue, Garibashvili said Tbilisi was seeking a balanced relationship between East and West by deepening ties with the West and carving out a more constructive relationship with Moscow.
 
“We made a firm decision to sign the association agreement with the European Union. At the same time we are trying to normalize relations with Russia and having this constructive policy with them,” he said.
 
“Therefore we need to find a balance, how to balance this. And we have to persuade the Russian authorities that Georgia's European integration does not conflict with the Russian interest. That's our mission,” Garibashvili added.
 
He said surveys in Georgia showed that 85 percent of Georgians supported more integration with the West and away from Russia's fold.
 
Garibashvili also said he was seeking closer economic ties and other relations with the United States in efforts to develop the Georgian economy, which the government has forecast will expand by at least 5 percent this year.
 
“Developing the economy is a priority for my government and we made structural reforms and the result is just getting to be felt,” the prime minister said.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid