The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation held on March 23 hearing about Georgia, discussing the country’s ongoing political crisis, among others. U.S. State Department’s George Kent and Kara McDonald, Deputy Assistant Secretaries gave testimonies.
Below is a compilation of some of the remarks made by politicians from the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition in response to the U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing.
Ruling Party Reactions
Archil Talakvadze, Parliament Speaker: “It was clearly noted that under the rule of the Georgian Dream, Georgia is a reliable ally and partner of the West and that the country has never deviated from the pro-western course. It was noted that according to the OSCE/ODIHR assessment, the parliamentary elections were conducted with fundamental freedoms respected, in a competitive environment, and that the opposition must enter Parliament and engage in parliamentary work. It was said clearly that not entering the Parliament and blocking the political process directly serves Russian interests. It was unequivocally stated that political leaders must respect the law and that breaking the law cannot be supported.”
Kakha Kuchava, Deputy Parliament Speaker: “Given the assessments made in the Senate, the opposition will have to take reciprocal steps to reach an agreement, and their attempt to present only a participation in the negotiations as a compromise on their part will not be perceived as such. Although the Georgian political spectrum will attempt interpreting the views expressed in the Senate [in their way], the facts are that the Senate assessed Georgia as a pro-western democratic state and a leader in the region, while the Georgian Dream, as a pro-western force, achieving significant progress which has brought us closer to our strategic goal – to apply for EU membership in 2024. Naturally, there has been concern that the opposition leader is in custody, although it was highlighted that the rule of law is an inviolable value that everyone, including representatives of the opposition, must uphold.”
Salome Samadashvili, the United National Movement: “I think everyone that listened to this hearing in detail realized that our strategic partners in Washington at this stage are placing quite high expectations on the ongoing negotiation process. We heard messages, especially addressed at the [Georgian Dream] authorities, despite there also being calls towards both sides. Numerous Senators highlighted the special role that falls on the government in this case. Also yesterday, an initiative was voiced to start working on the [Senate] resolution [on Georgia] and there was a talk of revising the principles of financial assistance [to Georgia based on conditionality principle]. This future is largely determined by the position that the Georgian Dream will take in the negotiation process.”
Gigi Tsereteli, European Georgia: “There were a lot of negative messages, first and foremost aimed at the government, because, it has been mentioned many times, that the government is primarily responsible for everything, including for [reaching] the agreement, which must be reached and compromises must be made. This [crisis] is not in the interests of the country, and only one country, Russia, is winning from this turmoil.”
Grigol Gegelia, Lelo for Georgia: “The U.S. is telling us quite clearly and unequivocally that if the mediation efforts to resolve this crisis are once again deliberately derailed by the Georgian Dream, then Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration will be off the table. Georgia’s fate will be injured and the stability of the country will be weakened as a result.”
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