U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price and seven Senators of the Foreign Relations Committee on July 28 leveled criticisms against the ruling Georgian Dream party for quitting the EU-brokered April 19 agreement.
Spokesperson Price argued the withdrawal “undermines an agreed upon way forward for the country through needed reforms and risks a return to political crises.” He called on all political parties to work together to “advance’ Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration.
The bipartisan group of Senators – Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Jim Risch (R-ID), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Rob Portman (R-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and John Barrasso (R-WY) – dubbed as “disappointing” the ruling party’s decision to “unilaterally walk away” from the deal, during a “pivotal time” for Georgia’s democratic development.
They said that recent developments in the country “undermine” the efforts envisaged by the multiparty agreement, including the “critical” judicial and electoral reforms.
“It was disappointing that not all elected parties signed the agreement or implemented the agreement in good faith,” added the Senators. The electoral bloc led by the largest opposition United National Movement party, also Alliance of Patriots, European Georgia, and Labor party were the four elected opposition groups that had refused to join the deal.
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But the Foreign Relations committee members stressed that “it is largely incumbent upon the ruling party to set aside political differences and pursue an inclusive, multiparty parliamentary process.”
They also called for free and fair local elections in October 2021, and a “continued commitment” to strengthening the rule of law through reforms. “A failure to advance democracy in Georgia may result in conditioning aid, jeopardize Georgia’s pursuit of EU and NATO membership, and damage the U.S.-Georgia bilateral relationship. Only the Kremlin benefits from such an outcome,” the Senators highlighted.
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