“I regret that an aggressive exchange took place in front of the EU Delegation premises between two party leaders,” said EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell today, commenting on September 23 altercation between Georgian Dream chair Irakli Kobakhidze and United National Movement chair Nika Melia.
The Ambassador welcomed that “one of them later apoligized and called for calm,” alluding to MP Kobakhidze’s statement apoligizing to the public for using insulting remarks and calling on his supporters to be forbearant.
Ambassador Hartzell said he is also raising his concerns “about the security situation that arose outside the EU Delegation” shortly after the altercation with relevant state interlocutors.
Georgian Dream’s supporters and supposed party activists gathered following the altercation outside the EU Embassy, when the meeting between the UNM chair and the EU Ambassador was taking place. They disbanded soon after MP Kobakhidze’s statement.
Ambassador Hartzell also condemned the cases of pre-election violence, called for swift and thorough investigations into several recent incidents, and urged all sides to exercise restraint.
“Next week on election day, all Georgian voters should enjoy a peaceful environment, allowing them to exercise their democratic right by casting their ballots freely, safely and without fear of violence or intimidation,” he stressed, adding it is the responsibility of the Georgian Government and political parties to “safeguard this right.”
Ambassador Hartzell, together with Ambassadors of the EU member states, was hosting leaders of Georgian political parties on September 23 in separate meetings to discuss the election processes.
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