The Georgian authorities expressed their satisfaction with the results of the meetings with the delegation of US, EU and UK special representatives on sanctions, which visited Georgia from 26 to 28 June.
“We are actively cooperating on the issue of sanctions implementation with both the US side and the EU delegation. At the meeting, we agreed that this cooperation will continue in the future,” said Georgian Finance Minister Lasha Khutsishvili, who stressed that the work of the Georgian side on the sanctions issue was “highly appreciated.” by his foreign colleagues.
It should be recalled that EU Special Representative for Sanctions David O’Sullivan, Head of the US State Department’s Sanctions Coordination Office Jim O’Brien and UK Foreign Office representative Kumar Iyer met in Tbilisi with Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs Affairs, Economy, Finance and Management of the National Bank of Georgia and Prosecutors.
According to the EU Delegation in Georgia, the purpose of the visit was to open a direct communication channel and establish a dialogue on the basis of future cooperation.
In turn, the chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party, Irakli Kobakhidze, noted that since the introduction of international sanctions against Russia, “Georgian government agencies have managed to stop dozens of attempts to circumvent sanctions.” At the same time, Kobakhidze stressed that despite the successful work of government agencies to identify potential offenders, “in the future, it is necessary to maintain vigilance and coordination.” At the same time, he criticized opponents of the ruling party and the Ukrainian leadership for spreading “various speculations and lies” and stressed that “every time the facts confirm” the unfoundedness of such accusations.
“The risks still exist and government agencies are therefore mobilized. It is precisely because of the possible risks that coordination is necessary … and this visit was aimed at strengthening the coordination between the partners … the country has a clear policy, we ourselves do not impose sanctions against Russia, but we will not allow anyone to use our territory to circumvent international sanctions,” the chairman of the ruling parties said.
It should be noted that after the introduction of international sanctions against the Russian Federation, Kiev repeatedly accused the Georgian authorities of agreeing to provide Russia with territory for the smuggling of sanctioned goods.
The Georgian authorities have denied these allegations and demanded the immediate disclosure of evidence. The Ukrainian side has not yet provided them.
At a press conference in Tbilisi on June 28 following meetings in Georgia, Jim O’Brien, head of the US State Department’s sanctions coordination office, said the most important thing for the international community is to ensure that high-quality Western electronic components for the production of weapons do not enter Russia, used by Russian soldiers to kill Ukrainians. O’Brien also noted the “close cooperation” with the Georgian authorities, called it “fruitful” and said the purpose of the visit is to continue and strengthen this cooperation.
At the same time, British Foreign Office spokesman Kumar Ayer warned that Russia would try to find “black holes”, i.e. ways around sanctions, and that it was important to prevent this. Ayer pointed out that this was to prevent Russia from importing 38 types of electronic components for the production of weapons. He also said that the delegation of which he is a member has already visited six countries, where they have shared their experience and methodology for identifying sanctions violators. Ayer said a delegation from Georgia was visiting Armenia.
It should be noted that some analysts believe that sanctioned goods from Georgia enter Russia via Armenia, as well as via Kazakhstan.
Recall that according to official statistics, in the first two months of 2023, exports from Georgia to Armenia increased by 197% compared to the same period last year, and exports to the Russian Federation – by 38%. At the same time, in 2022, compared to 2021, Georgia’s export growth to Armenia increased by 129%, to Kazakhstan – by 148%, and to Russia – by only 7%.
Also a week ago, the acting head of the Federal Customs Service (FCS) of Russia, Ruslan Davydov, said that the Russian Federation had succeeded in “breaking the economic blockade” on the territory of Georgia, and that ‘at present, “only at the Kazbegi-Upper Lars checkpoint, the increase in turnover is more than 20%.
The Georgian authorities have not yet provided any details in connection with this statement by the boss of the Russian FCS.
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