"Catastrophe" and "We're not interested" - reaction in Georgia to US Senate meeting
Reaction in Georgia US Senate meeting
The opposition and ruling parties in Georgia reacted to a meeting of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on foreign policy in the Caucasus, where it was announced that the system of financial assistance to Georgia from the US may be changed and be based on “merits”.
Also speaking at the meeting was Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried, who expressed disappointment that “we have been seeing a rollback of democracy in Georgia lately.” Senator Jeanne Shaheen also said that it might be worth reconsidering the American strategy of helping Georgia, since the government of the country seems to have deviated from its goal of EU membership and integration.
Recent criticism of Kelly Degnan were also mentioned at the meeting as an example of “democratic rollback”.
Opposition parties “Girchi – More Freedom”, “Strategy Agmashenebeli” and “It’s time”:
“Georgian Dream’s attempts to mislead the West and present itself as a pro-Western force are convincing fewer and fewer people in Western political circles. The US Senate and the State Department were confident that Dream was not going to fulfill the 12 recommendations presented by the European Commission, which, according to the US, is the only opportunity for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of our country.
Mamuka Mdinaradze, MP, member of the ruling Georgian Dream party:
“For several months, Mrs. Shaheen did not think about Georgia. This only happened when the European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy made very positive statements about Georgia. This is just an attempt to switch everything to a negative agenda. I’m sorry to say this. And what she said about funding, most of which goes to the NGO sector, it doesn’t matter.”
Chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party Irakli Kobakhidze:
“Most of the funding goes to NGOs, so from a practical point of view, it’s not very interesting for us. For us unfair criticism has no value, only criticism that has legitimate grounds. NGOs should worry about whether they will be given money or not.”
Leader of the opposition European Georgia Party Giga Bokeria:
“Instead of our government’s efforts — in the US Senate, the US Congress, Washington, Brussels — to integrate Georgia into the security belt, join NATO, free economic trade with the US, protect our freedom, that is, our return to the free world instead, thanks to the Ivanishvili regime Georgia is moving in the opposite direction.”
Levan Khabeishvili, member of the opposition United National Movement party:
“This is a complete disaster. The Georgian people, society sees that the Russian oligarch [Georgia’s alleged shadow ruler Bidzina Ivanishvili] and his criminal regime are separating us from the civilized world. The current authorities have separated us from America, Europe and lapsed into the arms of Yevtushenkov, Putin and Russia. This is a fact, and everyone knows very well how the Georgian Dream government behaves in this country and how the Georgian dream turned into a Russian dream.”
- ‘The decline of democracy in Georgia is alarming’ – US Senate Committee
- Ukraine and Moldova received the status of EU candidates, Georgia – only an EU prospect
On November 8, MEPs discussed the annual report on the implementation of the Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Brussels. According to the compromise document, Bidzina Ivanishvili is no longer considered an oligarch; however, in the chapter on deoligarchization his name and surname are indicated and it is deemed necessary to take legislative action regarding Ivanishvili’s excessive influence.
The document refers to persecution of the media in Georgia, political persecution of the opposition, and an insufficiently transparent procedure for electing a public defender. The European Parliament also calls on the Georgian authorities to send former president Mikheil Saakashvili for treatment abroad “for humanitarian purposes and to reduce polarization in society.”