U.S. State Department: Government Actions Created ‘Setbacks’ for European Aspirations

Responding to a journalist’s question regarding concerns for Georgia’s democracy amidst attacks on the U.S. Ambassador, and the second front narrative, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price emphasized that the State Department has already “voiced” its concerns about some of the “troubling statements” emerging from Georgia’s political system and society, as well as “government actions […] including stalling or moving backward on important democratic reforms, [which] have created setbacks.”

According to Spokesperson Price, such actions “have created setbacks to the clear, overwhelming aspirations of the people of Georgia for EU membership and for broader EU Euro-Atlantic aspiration.”

“These actions – we’re concerned because they have also deepened polarization within Georgian society rather than unify the country around the core issues of Euro-Atlantic integration,” he said and added that this degree of polarization is “not helpful for the country… [or] for Georgia’s broader political aspiration.”

Spokesperson Price reiterated, however, that the U.S. remains “committed to working with Georgia to make the reforms needed to meet its Euro-Atlantic goals.”

In this context, he urged Georgia to “demonstrate its commitment to EU integration by adopting reforms necessary to move forward on that path.”

In a follow-up question about whether the current situation in Georgia “undermines Georgia’s – American interest in Georgia, especially in light of this event and the war that broke out in February” Spokesperson Price also stated, “we think some of the actions, some of the rhetoric, has worked against the interests of the Georgian people.”

Sanctions on Ivanishvili’s Relatives

Asked about Ukraine’s decision on 19 October to sanction several relatives of Bidzina Ivanishvili, “[who] has been controlling, orchestrating Georgian politics for the last 10 years,” and whether the State Department has had consultations with the Ukrainian government on sanctions, Spokesperson Price said, “We have a close working relationship with our Ukrainian partners. I would need to defer to them to speak to any sanctions that they may have issued.”

In relation to Georgia, he stressed, “we remain committed to working with Georgia’s Government as it undertakes the reforms that have been called for by the European Union, by the European Commission in this case. We want to work with Georgia on its path and on its broader European aspirations.”

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