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Georgia soon hopes to sign Association Agreement with EU

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, September 9
According to Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski, a decision has already been made to expedite not only the initialization of the Association Agreement with the EU and Georgia (including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement), but also the signing thereof as well. The statement was made on September 7.

The Polish Foreign Minister and the Georgian PM met in Latvia on September 7 during the Riga Conference, an annual high-level policy and security forum. Sikorski, arrived in Riga from Vilnius where the EU foreign ministers’ informal meeting was held. The current European Commission's term of office runs until October 31, 2014.

“I am pleased to say that if Georgia fulfils the conditions and initials the agreement on the association, the commission will prepare a document for signing,” Ivanishvili stated.

Ivanishvili also emphasized that Georgia is faithful to its Euro-Atlantic path and is very grateful to the United States for its long-term assistance of Georgia.

“However, we preserve a pragmatic course with Russia,” Ivanishvili said. The PM highlighted that Georgia has already made various friendly steps to Russia, such as a visa-free regime for Russian citizens, not boycotting the Sochi Olympiads and Georgia’s agreement for Russia’s membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“Despite Russia’s recent actions in the occupied regions, we remain calm and continue our pragmatic policy regarding the federation,” Ivanishvili said.

Abkhazian Railway is not the part of the current pragmatic policy. The PM said that Georgia will support the restoration of the railway to Armenia via Abkhazia only if the government and public are persuaded of its necessity. Ivanishvili stressed that from an economic point of view, the railway links are always interesting. However, Abkhazian railway is not” just an economic issue, politics also performs a very serious role in this regard,” Ivanishvili stated.

Head of the Georgian president’s administration, Andro Barnovi, accused the prime minister in appropriation of merits of the previous state administration.

Barnovi stated on his Facebook page that “Ivanishvili, who frequently abuses the United National Movement (UNM) government, is trying to appropriate the UNM’s achievements in various directions.”

Barnovi stated that the visa-free regime with Russia, the non-use of force, and the acceptance of Russia into the WTO, were the outcomes of the former government’s actions.

According to the economic analyst Vazha Beridze, agreement on free trade with the EU means the encouragement of local enterprising. He stressed that for years, the Georgian economy was frozen in place and practically nothing was manufactured.

However, the agreement will be a serious push for local industry, as well as for foreign investors to come to Georgia and invest,” Beridze said.

Fellow analyst Giorgi Abashishvili states that the association agreement is very important for Georgia.

“Georgia will have an opportunity to present its products on various markets. At the same time, the European market is better and more stable and free from political risks than the Russian one,” the analyst said, adding that Georgia will have to work hard to satisfy the standards of the European market.

“An increase in quality requires expenses; it is unknown how ready Georgian entrepreneurs are for such expenses. Good quality also means more expensive products, including on the Georgian market and the country should be ready for this situation as well,” the analyst suggested.