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GD Chair: U.S. Ambo Remarks Offensive to Parliament, State

The ruling party chairman, Irakli Kobakhidze said the US Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s reaction to the open letter by MP Mikheil Kavelashvili were “mildly speaking, regrettable, offensive to the Parliament and the State.” Georgian Dream Chair was speaking in a late-night TV talk-show, just hours after Ambassador Degnan’s commentary.

Claiming that his response was guided both by “collegiality” towards the fellow MP as well as “the interests of state”, Chairman Kobakhidze said he took exception to Amb. Kelly’s statement both in form and substance. On the latter count, he said the accusations leveled by MP Kavelashvili against Georgia’s Public Defender, Nino Lomjaria and and the head of Transparency International, Eka Gigauri were not factually refuted by the Ambassador. MP Kavelashvili claimed that both Lomjaria and Gigauri, whose offices are supported by the US, were supportive of Georgia’s involvement in war with Russia. Ambassador Degnan called MP Kavelashvili’s letter “unhinged”, “full of lies and conspiracy theories.”

MP Dimitri Khundadze has echoed Kobakhidze’s statement, saying Amb. Degnan’s words were “disrespectful not of an MP and offensive to the whole of the Georgian electorate”. Khundadze, together with Kavelashvili and another MP, Sozar Subari have split-off from the ruling party on June 26, pledging to inform society about “the developments turning out in the backstage of Georgian politics,” which could not be voiced from the ruling party pulpit. They particularly claimed that the EU candidacy debate was a “mousetrap” set by the Western powers and Georgia’s opposition and CSOs, aiming to push the country into military confrontation with Russia.

Despite their formal separation from the ruling party, the dissident trio’s statements have been unusually released through the Parliament’s official pages. Amb. Degnan has said yesterday, that their narrative  “tracks very closely with some of the ruling party leaders.”

“Dragging into war” line

The ruling party has first hinted that the western allies were pushing Georgia into war in early May, when the reports surfaced that the party founder and patron, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili was facing problems with making certain transactions in Western financial institutions. The allegations about U.S. engagement were hinted on by the GD-affiliated pundits, Mr. Ivanishvili’s lawyers and later endorsed by MP Kobakhidze, who subsequently denied having blamed the United States. Since then, the speculation about the conspiracy of the western and western-leaning domestic opposition to “drag Georgia into war” has grown to become the mainstay of the Georgian Dream’s political rhetoric, which intensified with the refusal of the European Commission to grant Georgia the candidate status outright, in difference from co-applicants, Ukraine and Moldova.

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