Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili visited Moldova, where, together with other European leaders, he took part in the 2nd Summit of the European Political Community. After the welcoming ceremony, Irakli Garibashvili told reporters that the summit talks would be focused on regional security issues and the war in Ukraine. As part of the summit, the prime minister also participated in round table discussions chaired by the leaders of Great Britain and Poland, expressing solidarity with Ukraine and its people, wishing a speedy end to the war and restoration of territorial integrity. At the roundtable discussions, PM Garibashvili also stressed the importance of “the right steps” in such an unpredictable environment while saying that the country is fully fit for the EU candidacy. According to media reports, there was no sideline encounter between Irakli Garibashvili and Volodymyr Zelensky during the summit.
In his summit speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky coupled Georgia with Belarus, sparking adverse reactions from the foreign affairs minister Ilia Darchiashvili and ruling Georgian Dream lawmakers. “We see what is happening in Belarus, Georgia. We see how these nations are involved in the same turmoil. However, in different ways,” Zelenksy said, stressing that all the European countries bordering Russia have only two alternatives – open war or creeping occupation.
The President’s address to the European Parliament caused mixed feelings and reactions both from the ruling party and the opposition. Speaker Shalva Papuashvili said there was nothing special about the president’s speech, as she voiced the same messages that Georgian Dream is trying to convey to its European colleagues. Lawmakers from the opposition parties admitted that the president’s speech had some right accents but lacked meaning since concrete steps did not support it.
On the occasion of International Children’s Day, Partnership for Human Rights (PHR), a local non-governmental organization, issued a statement, drawing attention to the challenges in the area of child protection and welfare in the country, stressing that “the government’s cooperation with child rights organizations has deteriorated sharply.” Based on the Public Defender’s report, the organization noted that the number of children whose student status was suspended “due to traveling abroad with their family” has doubled. The statement also points to the growing violence statistics against children and the remaining challenges of effective investigation.