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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid