21 Jun 2019 12:49

Zourabichvili tells Lukashenko she is returning to Tbilisi due to protests

MINSK. June 21 (Interfax) - Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili said to her Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko that she had to cut short her visit to Minsk due to protests in Tbilisi.

"The situation in Georgia is tense at the moment. Therefore, I considered it my duty to be there, because the head of state must be in the country when something is happening there. So, please, again accept my apologies, but I have to go now and be with my people," the Belarusian state news agency BelTA quoted Zourabichvili as saying at a meeting with Lukashenko.

Zourabichvili additionally thanked Lukashenko for the meeting, even though she had to cut short her visit to Belarus due to the ongoing events in Georgia.

"Of course, I didn't expect that I would have to leave now," she said.

The Georgian president said that she was glad to visit to Belarus, adding that she had prepared for this trip in advance. She also wished Minsk all the best with the Second European Games.

"I have to go now, but I will be supporting [the athletes] from a distance," Zourabichvili said.

Zourabichvili arrived in Belarus on Thursday and planned to return to Georgia on Saturday, June 22.

Protesters tried to storm the parliament headquarters in Tbilisi and caused disruption at an office of the Georgian Dream ruling party on Thursday evening. The opposition demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze.

Police had dispersed the protest by Friday morning.