February 16, 2023
U.S. ‘Deeply Concerned’ about Draft Law on Foreign Agents
“We are aware of the draft legislation in Georgian parliament and are deeply concerned about its implications for freedom of speech and democracy in Georgia. We have expressed these concerns [directly] to [our interlocutors in] the Government of Georgia,” Ned Price, spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State, said on February 16 commenting on the draft law on foreign agents drafted by the “People’s Power” faction, formed by the deputies who left “Georgian Dream” but remained in the parliamentary majority.
He said that “the proposed law would stigmatize and silence independent voices of citizens….” “We believe such a law could potentially undermine Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration,” – Ned Price emphasized.
He also noted that statements that this legislation is based on the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in the United States are “patently false.” “In fact, this draft legislation appears to be based on similar Russian and Hungarian legislation,” the Spokesperson added.
February 16, 2023
Politicians React to European Parliament’s Resolution on Mikheil Saakashvili
On February 15, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the situation of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili with 577 MEPs voting in favor and 33 against. The European Parliament calls on Georgian government to release imprisoned ex-President and allow him to receive proper medical treatment abroad. The MEPs remind the Georgian authorities that they “have responsibility to ensure the health and well-being of the former President, to provide him with adequate medical treatment and to respect his fundamental rights and personal dignity, in line with Georgia’s Constitution and international commitments”. The resolution also “invites” the current President of Georgia to use her constitutional right to pardon Mikheil Saakashvili.
…Parliament reiterates its call on the Council and democratic partners to consider imposing sanctions on Ivanishvili for his role in “the deterioration of the political process in Georgia”.
Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of the Georgian Dream: “The public has become accustomed to absurd provisions in the European Parliament’s resolutions, which is very unfortunate. It should be noted that these absurd provisions are not shared either by the European Commission, or by the European Council. This happened in the previous two cases and the same will happen this time. I don’t know what is wrong with the European Parliament. We have been as careful with EU institutions as possible, and therefore, we have focused on specific odious MEPs, but now the public sees everything. This is a systemic problem facing this institution called the European Parliament. This is a very serious problem, such a decision, frankly, would be the envy of the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union. I well remember the end of the 80s, what happened then, the sessions of the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union were broadcast. What happened there, the same thing happened today and the same thing happened in the case of the previous two resolutions in the European Parliament. This is an outright disaster.”
Kakha Kaladze, Mayor of Tbilisi, Secretary General of Georgian Dream: “There is nothing new in this resolution and it has no value….The document cannot be valuable if it is about direct patronage of a criminal by his lobbyists….”
Shalva Papuashvili, Speaker of the Parliament: “Unfortunately, the EP resolutions have become a source of disinformation and attacks against Georgia. There is a group of European politicians, who are doing their best to harm Georgia in order to save Saakashvili. This resolution contains many factual errors.”
Archil Talakvadze, Georgian Dream: “This resolution does not reflect the reality. If anything can be called politically motivated, it is this resolution. They are telling Georgia to put aside the constitution and follow the rules dictated by [MEP Andrius] Kubilius. So, Georgia should release the person who has been convicted of certain crimes and about whom the European Court has also made a decision. This is a direct pressure on the government.”
February 16, 2023
Kakha Kaladze Accuses MEPs of Blackmailing
Kakha Kaladze responded to the MEP Andrew Kubilius’s statements regarding the decisive factor of Mikheil Saakashvili’s health condition for Georgia’s EU candidacy status. Kaladze said that on the way to European integration, the government will play by Georgian rules and act in the national interests of the people…
“If their political decision will be made regarding not giving the status, despite the fact that our government has done everything, is doing everything on this difficult path as part of the European integration, they should not keep that status for themselves,” said the mayor.
Kakha Kaladze accused MEPs of blackmailing and playing ‘games’ and said that Georgian authorities will only play according to the interests of the country:
“It’s part of the game and the blackmail that we’ve been seeing all this time, and that’s what the public is seeing. The government of Georgia will play by Georgian rules, act in the interests of the country and act in the national interests of our people…,” said Kaladze.