Georgian NGOs concerned by ruling party's attacks on Western partners
21 non-governmental organizations in Georgia published a joint letter saying that the statement of chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party Irakli Kobakhidze on November 13 serves to discredit Georgia’s Western partners and friends.
In his Facebook post, Irakli Kobakhidze noted that the country’s international partners must show that they are friends of Georgia, not former President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is serving a prison sentence and is on a hunger strike demanding to be released.
According to Kabakhidze, the government cannot cooperate with those who “do not recognize us as a state due to political bias”.
Kobakhidze also noted that one of the MEPs who was a longtime lobbyist of Saakashvili’s United National Movement party and promoted this political force at the time “when the Saakashvili regime was killing people, raping them, robbing businesses, seizing independent media and ceded the territory of Russia”.
According to the chairman of the ruling party, the question is simple: either these people recognize that Georgia is a state and the state has a law, “or we will have to call them patrons of criminals”.
According to non-governmental organizations, instead of sharing objective criticism and taking concrete steps to improve the situation in various directions, the government has recently been actively campaigning to attack Georgia’s western friends:
“Some groups and leaders do not shun from the offensive tone and often accuse those who interfere in the country’s internal affairs on whose political and financial support the functioning of the Georgian state depends. With such a rhetoric, the country, where the majority of population supports the western vector of development, will suffer more and more damage. Added to this is the public rejection of reforms that are important for the citizens of Georgia and the financial assistance from the West”.
According to NGOs, it seems that the ruling party is not going to carry out the democratic process in the country and is ready to spoil relations with Western states and politicians, as well as create serious problems for the country on the way to Euro-Atlantic integration.
“The unwavering desire of the Georgian people has been and remains the integration of our country into European and Euro-Atlantic structures. We believe that by such actions and statements, the Georgian government is further alienating us from our historic choice”, the statement reads.
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Irakli Kobakhidze’s Facebook post followed a visit to Georgia of MEP Anna Fotiga, who was not allowed to visit Mikheil Saakashvili in prison.
Kobakhidze’s letter was seen by experts and politicians as a change in political course. This is an open application for a change in foreign policy, said Nika Melia, chairman of the opposition United National Movement party.
“Today this regime told all of us, American and European strategic partners, as well as all international organizations supporting Georgian democracy, that from now on, all of you who believe that justice in the country is politicized and biased, they have a right to declare enemies of the state”, said Nika Melia.