Ruling Georgian Dream party chief, MP Irakli Kobakhidze has downplayed the European Parliament’s resolution regarding violations of press freedom in Georgia passed earlier today, which also called for sanctions against Georgian Dream founder and ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili.
The document has “nothing in common with European values and this sort of resolution, I’ll say it directly, is not worth a dime,” MP Kobakhidze asserted.
In his words, the resolution can be seen as a hint that, unlike Ukraine and Moldova, Georgia may not be granted EU candidate status. “This will be a completely illogical and unjust decision, to which all people interested in peace, the rule of law, and economic progress in Georgia will have their reaction.”
“We hope that when Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova become members of the European Union, we will have a different European Parliament … [one] immune from the influence of the “fake [news]”, defender of the true European values.”
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The GD chief expressed astonishment that the resolution would call for the sanctioning of Bidzina Ivanishvili who he said “has completely distanced himself from politics today and [who earlier] restored democracy, media freedom and media pluralism to the Georgian people”. Kobakhidze derided the calls for the release of imprisoned ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili and opposition TV chief Nika Gvaramia. Both are “the enemies of Georgia democracy and media freedom”, GD Chief argued.
Of war and the coup
MP Kobakhidze maintained that even if “one theoretically assumes” that Ivanishvili remains in politics, the only thing he could be reproached with is that “Georgian authorities did not impose sanctions against Russia, [which would mean] punishing its own people.”
Repeating the Georgian Dream’s favorite line, MP Kobakhidze said “Georgia’s ‘well-wishers’ may not like that Georgia did not get involved in a completely fatal war [of Russia in Ukraine] and did not let anyone destroy the country.”
“Perhaps, they are annoyed by the fact that against the background of the worst economic problems in the world, in Georgia last year and during January-April of this year, economic growth stood over 10 percent,” he added.
He also said, “Georgia’s ‘well-wishers’ may not like that the law is enforced in Georgia and that Saakashvili, who sneaked into the country with a sour cream container, and [Nika] Gvaramia, the robber of a TV company with 7 million Laris are where they belong today [i.e. in prison].”
MP Kobakhidze went on, adding that the opposition’s calculation was to first denigrate Georgia in Europe and now to take advantage of the public outcry if Georgia fails to secure the EU candidacy (while Ukraine and Moldova do) and to engineer “the coup d’etat” by the United National Movement.” “The end of all this is Georgia’s engagement in war,” he warned ominously.
Downplaying Press Freedom Problems
The ruling party chairperson took particular issue with the European Parliament resolution passages about Saakashvili’s transfer to a private clinic and the reasons for the death of cameraman Aleksandre Lashkarava.
MP Kobakhidze said both statements were “lies,” adding: “It is extremely disturbing when specific individuals manage to sneak such gross factual inaccuracies and lies into the EP resolution.”
He also denied the resolution’s remarks that violence against journalists has reached unprecedented levels since July 5 events, saying it was “unfortunate when such facts are not verified by the European Parliament before a resolution was adopted.”
Despite lambasting the European Parliament’s resolution, the Chair concluded that the government would not “anticipate the events” and will wait for the official decision to be made regarding Georgia’s EU candidacy on June 23-24.
“Judging by the decision [of the EU], we will provide the public with more information about the behind-the-scenes developments around the candidate status and relevant personal conversations.”