The ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party leaders, Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze, Vice Speaker Gia Volski and MP Irakli Kobakhidze commented on the international reactions to March 8 Deal disagreement between the ruling and opposition parties.
Commenting on the statements of the U.S. Senator Jim Risch, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Congressman Adam Kinzinger, chair of the House Georgia Caucus, Georgian Speaker Archil Talakvadze stated on May 12 that “this is the opinion of our friends and we are ready for any discussion.”
Perfectly said. It is imperative to finally implement this agreement and move on. https://t.co/pgJWlhUEmA
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) May 11, 2020
“Both prioritized to call on the [both] parties to fulfill the agreement. [The fact that] not only the ruling party, but both sides are called upon to fulfill the agreement, means that the opposition has its own share of responsibility in this situation and their menace to downvote the agreement is unacceptable,” said Archil Talakvadze.
“Noteworthy, that Senator Risch calls on the parties [to fulfill the agreement] and not only the government,” noted Speaker Talakvadze.
I expect Georgia’s political parties to fully implement their March agreement, including the release of political prisoners and progress towards a new electoral system. https://t.co/0nSWlZN9gJ
— U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (@SenateForeign) May 12, 2020
Speaking of the issue of “release of political prisoners” Georgian Speaker stated: “I doubt that the mayor who embezzled 10% of the capital city’s budget could be called “a political prisoner” if [s/he] gets jailed in the U.S., or that this person could return to politics… Or if a group of people attack the Capitol, would be declared as political prisoners [there in the U.S.]. Such a crime would get a legal response in any democratic country and they would be held accountable.”
“During our next visit to the U.S., or when he arrives to Georgia, we will definitely have a friendly discussion on these issues. There is no doubt that the Senator is a friend of Georgia and we are ready to present our arguments,” noted Speaker Talakvadze.
MP Irakli Kobakhidze, GD’s executive secretary, also responded the statements by Senator Risch and Congressman Kinzinger during the broadcast on TV Imedi, pro-governmental TV channel on May 12.
“We have a great respect for the Senator who has a special role in the U.S. Senate (Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee), but it is important to note that his statement is clearly based on an incorrect information,” noted Kobakhidze.
“We are also aware on how and through which connection channels such information is delivered to the specific officials in the U.S. In fact, there are no political prisoners in Georgia and the Georgian society knows this very well,” Irakli Kobakhidze said.
Recalling December 12, 2012 letter co-signed by Risch alongside with other four Senators, MP Kobakhidze stated that the opposition managed to propagate disinformation even back in 2012. According to him, the addressers then found out that there was no political prosecution in the country. “The 2012 letter yielded no results as it was not in line with the truth. It is the same [story] today,” stated MP Kobakhidze.
Commenting on the statement by MEP Michael Gahler, Vice Speaker Gia Volski told Rustavi 2 TV on May 13 that Gahler is “in fact, one of the European allies of the United National Movement party.”
All parties should adhere to the text and spirit of the 8 March agreement. It is a litmus test for Ivanishvili’s and Georgian dream’s true intentions https://t.co/ai3qTTNZWv
— Michael Gahler (@gahler_michael) May 13, 2020
“Creating an atmosphere of confrontation with a Member of European Parliament or a [U.S.] Senator, of course, damages the political [situation] in Georgia,” however, Volski warned.
“Everyone remembers the actions of MEPs, even with regard to Rustavi 2 TV; [but] the Strasburg Court [ECHR] made a completely different decision, just as Strasbourg proved that the facts of torture took place during the previous [UNM] government,” said Volski.