On February 26, Georgian Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani announced that the upcoming 130th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE), will be held in Strasbourg, instead of Tbilisi. According to Zalkaliani, the decision was made at the today’s meetings of the CoE Ministers’ Deputies.
FM Zalkaliani said that it was “a sincere desire” of the Georgian authorities to host “such important and high-level event” of the Presidency of Georgia in Tbilisi on May 15. However, holding the event in Tbilisi would require from Georgia to host every member state delegation, including that of Russia. The latter’s possible visit to Tbilisi was expected to be met with street protests in Georgian capital by Georgians unhappy with Russian occupation of Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia regions.
On June 20, 2019, Russian delegation’s presence at the session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO), headed by communist orthodox Duma Deputy Sergei Gavrilov, in the Georgian Parliament’s plenary chamber sparked massive street protests in Tbilisi and across Georgia. Georgian government then dispersed the unrest through massive use of tear gas and rubber bullets, resulting in 240 people sustaining injuries.