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The Daily Beat: 18 September

In a surprise statement, the State Security Service announced that conspirators inside and outside the country are plotting “destabilization and civil unrest” to topple the government, as was the case during Euromaidan. The Security Service believes the disruptive activities might occur in October-December when the EU is expected to decide on Georgia’s EU candidate status. The statement by the Security Service further claimed that the deputy head of Ukraine’s counterintelligence, Giorgi Lortkipanidze, and the leader of the “Georgian Legion” operating in Ukraine, Mamuka Mamulashvili, were involved in the conspiracy.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry denied the statement of the State Security Service, saying that it has never interfered and does not plan to interfere in the internal affairs of Georgia. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry further noted that the Georgian government constantly demonizes Ukraine to solve its internal political problems. All the individuals named by the Security Service as alleged conspirators also denied any connection to Georgian politics, calling the claim absurd.

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili departed for New York, where he is participating in the 78th session of the UN General Assembly. In New York, he met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. He will also address the General Assembly and hold several other high-level bilateral meetings during his visit. PM Garibashvili is accompanied by the Georgian delegation, including the foreign minister Ilia Darchiashvili.

The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) froze Otar Partskhaladze’s assets and restricted his financial transactions in Georgia. In its statement, the NBG said that financial institutions in Georgia are complying with the financial sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom against the Russian Federation since February 26 last year. On 14 September, the US State Department sanctioned former Prosecutor General Otar Partskhaladze for exerting Russian malign influence in Georgia in coordination with an FSB officer.

President Salome Zurabishvili reacted to the sanctioning of Otar Partskhaladze, calling it a “huge trouble” when the country’s General Prosecutor has been an “FSB” agent. “One of them, Mr. Kakha [Kaladze, Tbilisi City Mayor], said that my European visits are the biggest trouble. No, Mr. Kakha, the biggest trouble is when the General Prosecutor has been an FSB agent. This is the biggest trouble, and even bigger trouble is when there is not much alert in all the relevant agencies responsible for investigating such cases,” said Zurabishvili at the meeting with NGO representatives, requesting an immediate investigation of the case. President also denied the fact that Partskhaladze submitted an application for dual citizenship to the president’s office.

Speaking at the meeting with the NGO representatives, President Salome Zurabishvili stressed that there is no alternative to the European future, adding that Russia could not be the future of this country. President asked the NGO representatives and the media to do their utmost to help Georgia advance on its European path and secure EU candidacy. President also revealed that she is scheduled to visit Baltic countries, Poland, and Belgium to lobby the country’s European future.  

Georgian Dream chairman Irakli Kobakhidze decried the National Bank’s decision to freeze Partskhaladze’s assets and transactions, calling the decision unconstitutional. “If the NBG has taken such a decision, it is in direct contradiction with the Georgian Constitution, particularly with one of its key principles – the presumption of innocence,” argued Kobakhidze. The ruling party chair also slammed the president’s comments on Partskhaladze, saying such accusations could not be uttered without evidence, “especially by the president.”   

Tbilisi City Mayor Kakha Kaladze also joined the GD rally to defend the US-sanctioned former General prosecutor, stressing that Georgian people deserve to be provided with more detailed information from the US side. “More information should be provided on the Georgian citizen, who is said to be sanctioned and on a specific charge. I hope the relevant agency will probably request its colleagues from the partner country for more information regarding the mentioned issue,” noted Kaladze, recalling the US sanctioning of judges.

Russian-occupied Abkhazia’s representative, Teimuraz Kishba, responsible for tourism, claimed that the Sokhumi International Airport will open in 2025. Abkhaz official revealed the plans for the Sokhumi International Airport opening while delivering his speech at the First International Tourism Forum in Kazakhstan. Before this announcement, the airport was expected to receive its first flights in January next year.


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