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Deeds Not Words, Public Defender Tells President

Public Defender of Georgia Nino Lomjaria has said President Salome Zurabishvili can also take appropriate actions in the context of EU-Georgia relations, along with making critical statements about the Georgian Government’s handling of relations with the European Union.

The Public Defender’s remarks to the media today came in response to President Zurabishvili’s lengthy address delivered yesterday, in which she lambasted the Georgian Dream authorities for controversial legal changes, offending EU partners, and declining EU-Georgia relations.

While noting that the President rightfully criticized the government for “unfulfilled reforms and commitments” and dubbed certain legal changes problematic for EU-Georgia relations, Lomjaria said President Zurabishvili “could have acted and vetoed them.”

Public Defender went on to say that President Zurabishvili “avoided” the issue of pardoning Mtavari Arkhi TV chief Nika Gvaramia, despite it being the central issue in the European Parliament’s recent critical resolution on press freedom which the President extensively addressed in her address.

“For some reason, she did not mention that this issue was in the resolution as well and she avoided the issue of the pardon,” Lomjaria noted. “I have questions about why she is not taking specific steps which EU would consider as meeting their requirements.”

The Public Defender also noted that the President has yet to respond to her suggestion to pardon Gvaramia.

“She cannot do much but if she has complaints with the government, she can also take the appropriate steps within whatever mandate and ability she has,” Lomjaria added.

Georgia is awaiting the Europe Commission to publish its Opinion on June 17 on whether or not the country should receive EU candidacy status. Based on their findings, the European Council will make a final decision on the matter on June 23-24.

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

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