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Foreign Diplomats Shall be Listened to ‘If Needed,’ Tbilisi Mayor Says

“Those who need to be listened to, should definitely be, of course, in accordance with law,” Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze told reporters on September 20, commenting on the massive leak of alleged State Security Service files.

Asked whether his statement implies foreign diplomats too, Kaladze, who is running for reelection in October 2 local elections, responded “yes, if needed.”

Thousands of files, allegedly gathered through the Security Service spying, were disseminated to journalists on September 13. Albeit largely focused on the Orthodox clergy, containing compromising data on alleged pedophilia, criminal activities, narcotics use and spying for Russia, documents also included materials about Georgian journalists, opposition politicians, far right groups, civil servants, etc.

Some of these files, Georgian media reported, indicated Georgian security agents’ direct or indirect spying on foreign diplomats, including details on conversations of EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell, U.S. diplomats, Israeli Ambassador Ran Gidor, and employees of other diplomatic missions.

The European Union said the alleged spying on EU diplomatic mission “is a very serious matter since it has implications in the framework of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” and noted “taking appropriate steps.”

The opposition accused the Georgian Dream government of governing with “Russian-type methods,” while PM Irakli Garibashvili blamed “fabrication and falsification” on the opposition, mainly the United National Movement, GD’s arch-rival.

“This severe campaign, which was directed against the Church and the government, now against diplomats, serves only one political, narrow party interest,” PM Garibashvili said.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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