During a July 20 briefing, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price pledged full support for Ambassador Kelly Degnan and stated “disinformation and personal attacks on Ambassador Degnan or her team are not consistent with how partners communicate with one another, and we will continue to focus on supporting our shared goals.” Ruling Georgian Dream party officials have recently lashed out at Ambassador Degnan on several issues, including the U.S.’ critical position on Judge Lasha Chkhikvadze’s decision to imprison opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV chief Nika Gvaramia.
Members of the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition responded to Spokesperson Price’s statement. Below is a sampling of their reactions:
Georgian Dream Responds
MP Archil Talakvadze: “No representative of the Georgian government has attacked or insulted the representatives of the United States of America… I understand that the radical opposition, our opponents, want to blame what they are doing, attacking and insulting Western ambassadors, on the Georgian Dream.”
MP Mikheil Sarjveladze: ” “Well, [Ned Price] is not well informed… I don’t think in this case that there was an attack on the Ambassador by the government or any representative of the government… The Judge [Lasha Chkhikvadze] came out and said what he said. Questions arose in society on this subject. Politicians also had questions. Yesterday, even before Ned Price’s statement, I said it would be good for the [fog] to lift on this issue. I don’t have the feeling that in this case, there are extreme misfortunes [or] legal violations.”
MP Irakli Kadagishvili: “I openly declared that the statement that the rhetoric of Georgia officials is helping to divert Georgia from the path to the European Union does not correspond to reality.”
Bacho Dolidze – United National Movement: “When you hear a very clear and concrete position from the State Department that we have people in power who are interfering with Georgia’s European integration, what can be [a clearer] message and this position is understood by them. One thing is already very clear, both for us and our international partners, that this government is a barrier between us and Europe, between us and the civilized world.”
Ana Buchukuri – For Georgia: “The U.S. State Department had to explain and remind the Georgian Dream of the elementary basics of diplomacy, which means that when you attack the Ambassador or official of the United States of America or any country, yes, it means an attack against that particular state, which this or that Ambassador represents.”
Paata Manjgaladze – Strategy Aghmashenebeli: “Starting the briefing on the topic of Georgia, supporting Kelly Degnan, means that the United States of America Georgia is an important partner, that it observes the ongoing processes here with a magnifying glass and knows the smallest nuances, including statements made by Georgian Dream. The U.S. is outraged by this and once again pointed out that these statements do not correspond to the national interests of Georgia, the process of integrating with Europe.”
Vakhtang Megrelishvili – Girchi: “It was completely unheard of for our partners as well, why the Georgian government behaves the way it does, why they verbally attack our partners, while they are our only protection in the face of the risks under which we live today.”
Gigi Tsereteli – European Georgia: “I don’t remember such a harsh statement, which is sometimes made not towards strategic partners but towards unfriendly and hostile nations. This often happens with Russia, Belarus, etc. If the government of Georgia wants to be included in this list, then it should make such statements. This is very bad for bilateral relations.
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- Amb. Degnan Addresses Judge’s Allegation of U.S. Interference
- Former Judge on Gvaramia Case Accuses MEP, U.S. of Pressuring Judiciary