U.S. Assistant Secretary Begins Tbilisi Visit, Meets CSOs

U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker arrived in Tbilisi today where he already met with local civil society organizations and media advocacy groups.

Following the meeting with the civil society representatives, Eka Gigauri, Head of Transparency International (TI) Georgia, said the sides discussed the implementation of the EU-brokered April 19 deal, and ensuring that the nearing local elections are held in a manner that will rule out any disputes over its outcome, to avoid a repeated political crisis.

Nika Simonishvili, Head of Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, noted that the key topic of the discussion was reform of the judiciary – “the key and fundamental institution” for democracy in the country. He said parties also touched upon the polarization in Georgian politics and the path to resolving the political crisis in the country.

Head of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) Nino Dolidze said the sides also discussed power-sharing as means to ensure “democratic processes” in Georgia.

On his part, the Acting Assistant Secretary underscored that “reforms are essential to ensure Georgia’s democratic development continues to support its path toward Western integration,” the U.S. Embassy reported.

At a separate meeting with media advocacy groups, the Acting Assistant Secretary stressed the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment “to putting human rights at the heart of U.S. foreign policy,” including freedom of press and expression, as reported by the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi.

Acting Assistant Secretary Philip Reeker, who is traveling to Tbilisi, Baku, and Yerevan on June 6-13, is also expected to meet with Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, and opposition leaders today.

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