NATO Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia, Javier Colomina, is on an official visit to Georgia. Speaking with the media in Tbilisi, Javier Colomina reiterated NATO’s commitment to the open-door policy and Bucharest Summit decisions, also noting serious concerns about reforms’ level, pace, and sometimes content in Georgia. NATO Special Representative held meetings with the parliament speaker, defense minister, and deputy foreign minister, discussing security challenges and the country’s progress towards NATO membership. Colomina is also scheduled to meet with the President and the foreign affairs minister.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, who is in Doha, participated in a panel discussion at the Qatar economic forum, speaking of the war in Ukraine, Russia-Georgia relations, and the Russo-Georgia War 2008. “What else can Georgia do to support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people? Ukrainian friends may have different expectations; they have publicly stated they want to see a second front in Georgia. We have had enough wars,” the prime minister said. At the panel discussion, PM Garibashvili assessed the resumption of Russia-Georgia direct flights as normal development, recalling that none of the Western states imposed sanctions on Russia following the 2008 war in Georgia.
Freedom House, a US-based rights watchdog, released its Nations in Transit 2023 report, indicating a decrease in Georgia’s democracy rating from 3.07 to 3.04, keeping the country in the “transitional government or hybrid regime” category as in the previous assessment. According to the report, areas like independent media and national democratic governance declined, while judicial framework and independence, as well as local democratic governance and corruption, remained on the same low level – below 3. The Nations in Transit report assesses the status of democratic governance in 29 post-communist nations across Europe and Eurasia, with ratings ranging from 1 to 7.
Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia), a local watchdog, released an analysis revealing links between the recently elected non-judge members of the High Council of Justice (HCoJ) and the judicial “clan.” After carefully studying the biographies of the HCoJ members, a local watchdog also traced their links to the US – sanctioned judges – Mikheil Chinchaladze, Levan Murusidze, and Irakli Shengelia. TI Georgia believes that the election of the new members to the HCoJ will only further strengthen the positions of the “clan” and will not contribute to the recovery of the judicial system, undermining the country’s European integration process.
Following the three weeks-long non-stop protests by parents and activists, the government added achondroplasia to the list of rare diseases covered by the state program, meaning that the health authorities will provide and fund any necessary therapies, including the required drug. One of the parents of an achondroplasia-diagnosed child happily wrote on Facebook that the government is taking responsibility for the protocol treatment, and drugs will be available soon. Parents of children with achondroplasia protested for 19 days in front of the prime minister’s office, demanding the import of necessary medications.