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In Quotes: U.S. Congressmen’s Letter Triggers Mixed Assessments in Tbilisi

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On December 13, co-chairs of the U.S. Congressional Georgia Caucus Adam Kinzinger and Gerald E. Connolly sent a letter to Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, in which U.S. Congressmen expressed their “growing concern” about Georgian government’s recent decision to backtrack on its key promise of proportional polls from 2020, as well as “the reports of violence against peaceful protestors.”

The Congressmen’s letter caused mixed assessments in Tbilisi among Georgian politicians. Civil Georgia (Civil.ge) offers you a compilation of these assessments:

Ruling Party Assessments

Giorgi Gakharia – The Prime Minister of Georgia:
“The Congressmen are the co-chairs of Congressional Georgia Caucus. We do accept all criticisms from friends and strategic partners…  Of course, we have our position about those criticisms. There are certain questions and we will respond them. This is part of a positive cooperation and positive friendship. There are legal procedures that are over, this is the decision of the Parliament (to downvote constitutional amendments on November 14 – Civil.ge’s note) and therefore, no one can question the [Georgian[ Parliament’s decision. The current level of strategic partnership between Georgia and the U.S. is the highest that we have ever had. Georgia has never had such progress in terms of its Euro-Atlantic integration… As for the rally dispersal, we [are ready] to provide full, objective information [to the Congressmen]… because we are confident about the steps that law enforcement agencies did take. It is a fact that freedom of expression has never been as protected and as transparent in this country, as it is today.”

Archil talakvadze – The Georgian Parliament Speaker: “We are guided by the official positions of the U.S. government and the Department of State, as well as the Congress. The assessments of our friends, the Congressmen, are interesting as well. Of course, we see this as the opinion of [our] friends. [Georgian] parliamentary delegation is currently visiting Washington D.C. and they will provide exhaustive information [to the relevant parties there] about these concrete issues.”

Davit Zalkaliani – The Foreign Minister of Georgia: “We will have relevant communication with them, they will be provided with [comprehensive] information about the processes unfolding in the country [Georgia]. I understand that plenty of contradictory information is reaching Washington D.C., hence, it is important that they have concise, adequate assessments [from the Georgian Authorities].”  

Opposition Assessments

Khatia Dekanoidze – The United National Movement: “This letter by our friends is a sharply critical statement. Inter-party group that returned to Georgia from Washington D.C. visit (the group included UNM’s Salome Samadashvili and Khatia Dekanoidze, European Georgia’s Elene Khoshtaria and Republican Party’s Khatuna Samnidze – Civil.ge’s note) the day before yesterday, had the same message to our friends. [Our message] was that it is critically important that Georgia’s political crisis is solved through free, [fully] proportional polls. These very points are the main highlights in this letter.”

Elene Khoshtaria – The European Georgia: “This letter is a wake up call from our friends. In the first place, the very fact that friends of [Georgia] from Congress decided to send a letter to the government of Georgia means that [Georgian] democracy has got a huge problem. This is in fact a warning against the Georgian government. And this [letter] is not about supporting any specific political party or a group, but [about the fact that] Georgian people deserves more. The Congressmen are openly talking about that, which is an important support from our strategic partners during the [political] crisis that we are experiencing now… This has to be a red card for the [Georgian] authorities.”

Levan Berdzenishvili – The Republican Party: “The main highlight of the Congressmen’s letter is that hundreds of people were injured because of government-sanctioned violence and that backtracking on the promise of proportional polls is unacceptable. This is not a position of some individual Congressman or group of Congressmen, or one specific party, but the position taken by the co-chairs of Congressional Georgia Caucus. This [letter] in fact expresses the position of the American authorities.”

Mariam Jashi – Georgian Parliamentary Faction of “Independent MPs”: “Such statements are important in order to minimize the mistakes strengthen adequate communication and to send concise messages to Washington D.C. When the U.S. Congressman voices similar statement… I have no reason not to trust it.”

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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