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The Daily Beat: 13 July

Speaking to journalists at the opening event of the State Agricultural Laboratory, outgoing U.S. Ambassador Kelly Degnan condemned violent actions that occurred during the Pride Festival, saying that “everyone will feel a lot safer in Tbilisi when these people, who are on video, are arrested and prosecuted.” Commenting on the NATO Summit, Ambassador Degnan reaffirmed the Alliance’s support for Georgia’s membership aspirations, emphasizing the need to implement reforms.

The chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party, Irakli Kobakhidze, promptly reacted to the US Ambassador’s criticism, saying that it is not the Ambassador’s responsibility to order the arrests, adding that a diplomat should not speak like that. Irakli Kobakhidze believes that the Interior Ministry did its utmost to prevent violence at the Pride festival, no one was physically injured, and police efforts deserve appreciation.

On 11-12 July, the 58th round of the Geneva International Discussions (GID) was held without reaching any significant progress on the “non-use of force/international security arrangements. Nevertheless, the GID Co-chairs noted in the press communiqué that “the participants reaffirmed their commitment to the process and key role played by the GID as the only platform where the conflict consequences are addressed,” expressing appreciation for this shared commitment. The 59th round of the GID is scheduled for December 2023. More detailed information on the positions of the GID participants and the dynamics of the 58th round is available in material.

Former “Mtavari TV” director and recently released political prisoner Nikoloz Gvaramia took part in Strasbourg meetings organized by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to discuss the state of democracy and political developments in Georgia. At the joint press conference following the discussions, Nika Gvaramia and MEPs noted the growing importance of the younger generation playing a more active role in Georgian politics. Ex-President Saakashvili’s health condition was one of the central topics at Strasbourg meetings.

Foreign Ministry reported the official entry into force of the agreement on bilateral visa-free movement of citizens between Georgia and Armenia, allowing citizens of both countries to travel from Georgia to Armenia and vice versa with biometric ID cards. According to the Foreign Ministry, the agreement aims to provide more favorable conditions for the cross-border movement of Georgian and Armenian citizens.

Data of the Day

A study by the Russian Business TV Channel (RBC) showed that money transfers from Russia to four neighboring countries – Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan – decreased by a third in May 2023 compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.

According to RBC estimates, $625.9 million was transferred to these four countries in May 2023, which is 33% less than in May 2022. Russian experts attribute this decline to the withdrawal of savings, the return of migrants, and the imposition of restrictions on Russian banks.

Chief Statistics Office (Geostat) express data showed a 20.1% increase in Georgia’s foreign trade in January-June 2023 compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, reaching USD 10,266.2 million. According to Geostat, Georgia’s foreign trade export increased by 19.2% and reached USD 3,050.4 million, while imports increased by 20.4% and amounted to USD 7,215.8 million.


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