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Evaluating deal with Gazprom

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, January 18
President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili says the recently reached deal between the Government of Georgia and Russia’s energy giant Gazprom over the transit gas pay “worsens Georgia’s energy sector, and affects the country’s political and economic interests”.

At a press briefing on January 17, the President’s Press Speaker, Eka Mishveladze, said that through the deal which envisages monetary compensation instead of receiving gas for Russia’s transit to Armenia would place Georgia in an unfavourable situation.

Margvelashvili has appealed to Parliament to “strengthen its supervisory function over the deal” and present a plan on how the possible risks and threats are being avoided or decreased to minimum.

The President stated that negotiations with Gazprom should be discussed by the state top officials with the involvement of the country’s foreign allies; however, his suggestions were “ignored”.

“The President used to state that the Gazprom issue is more than a business deal, that this concerns security and foreign policy, and only after energy and economics,” Mishveladze stated.

Several days ago, the Government of Georgia accepted Gazprom’s demand to receive money instead of natural gas in exchange for Russia’s gas transit to Armenia via Georgia.

Georgia received 10% of all natural gas that Russia sends to Armenia through Georgia.

Last year, Russia also raised the same demand; however, the same Georgian Dream Government of Georgia was proud to say they managed to get Russia to provide Georgia with natural gas rather than money, as this was “more beneficial” for Georgian interests.

After the new deal with Gazprom, Georgia’s Minister of Energy Kakhi Kaladze said Georgia accepted an “optimal offer” that would never make the country dependent on Russian gas.

The Minister refrained from naming a concrete sum that Georgia will receive from Russia, only saying “we will get nearly the same result as it was in case of directly receiving natural gas”.

However, the Deputy Energy Minister said the previous agreement was more beneficial from a financial point of view.

The opposition has already summoned Kaladze to Parliament to ask questions over the new agreement.