Senators Shaheen and Risch: Failure of Georgian government forces us to ask the administration to take action
Letter from US senators about Georgia
US Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Jim Risch have sent a letter to the US Secretary of State and head of the Agency for International Development (USAID) requesting the establishment of a long-term monitoring mission in Georgia for the 2024 elections, as reported by “Voice of America”.
The Senators’ letter says the mission will observe the 2024 elections to support Georgia and the Georgian people “at this crucial moment” for their democracy. The Senators are also urging the administration to prioritize high-level visits to Georgia along with European allies.
Voice of America writes that both Senators were in Georgia as observers during the 2012 elections and after that visit, “witnessed the erosion of democratic institutions in Georgia and growing signs that Georgia’s progress towards democracy has stalled.”
“Georgia is at a crossroads and the success of Georgian democracy is in our national interest. Congressional bipartisan support for Georgia’s sovereignty and membership of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization remains strong. However, the government’s recent failure forces us to ask the administration to take action on the state of democracy and governance in Georgia,” the letter says.
According to the Senators, the fact that the European Commission did not grant candidate status to Georgia when it considered that Ukraine and Moldova were ready to receive this status is sign of the decline of democracy in Georgia.
They also mention the EU’s 12 recommendations and emphasize that the recently submitted – and withdrawn – “foreign agents” bill in the Georgian parliament was an attempt to weaken civil society and independent media, which would further distance Georgia from candidate status.
“While the Georgian parliament made the right decision in rejecting the proposed bill, we are concerned that the very introduction of the bill and the parliament’s attempt to expedite its passage is a worrying sign of a deviation from the path to a Euro-Atlantic future,” the letter says.
In addition, the Senators ask the administration to allocate appropriate financial resources so that the 2024 elections in Georgia reflect the will of the Georgian people.
- Opinion: Stoltenberg explicitly states that Georgia is lagging behind in terms of democracy
- MEPs: “The cause of the decline of democracy in Georgia is Ivanishvili”
Irakli Kobakhidze: They were friends of the Saakashvili regime, we are not surprised by their reaction
The chairman of the ruling party of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze, reacted to the statement of the senators at a briefing, calling them “friends of the Saakashvili regime”:
“These two senators were pleased with the democratic progress in Georgia until 2012. They were friends of Saakashvili and his regime. Unfortunately, they supported the bloody regime that was established in Georgia until 2012; against this background, it is not surprising that today they criticize our democratic state without any facts and evidence. There is a clear political bias. We respect any senator, including his political bias, no matter how unacceptable it may be for us.”