The Speaker, Shalva Papuashvili, doubled down on accusations against the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), saying some of their programs encourage “extremism” and “polarization.” He demanded “explanations” from the US and the EU, just as the ruling party and security services have stepped up pressure on civic activists.
Vice-Speaker of the Parliament and the head of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with Ukraine, Archil Talakvadze, attended the second parliamentary summit of the International Crimean Platform in Prague, expressing rare support for Ukraine’s fight for freedom, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. In his speech, vice-speaker Talakvadze also claimed that Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova should get a clear roadmap for membership in the European Union, emphasizing that only EU membership could guarantee that new generations will live in a peaceful and prosperous region.
The US Embassy in Tbilisi reported the arrival of Ambassador Erin Elizabeth McKee, USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia in Georgia. According to the US Embassy, Assistant Administrator McKee will head the US delegation at the Tbilisi Silk Road Forum and meet with government officials to reaffirm USAID’s three-decade-long strategic partnership with Georgia. She will also launch USAID’s new program to enhance teacher training.
Prosecutor’s Office announced the arrest of an Italian mafia fugitive in Georgia, pledging to extradite him to Italy. Giuseppe Sganga, a 67-year-old individual, is reportedly associated with the influential Mafia-type organized crime group Ndrangheta. In 2020, he and five other people were tried in absentia and found guilty of drug trafficking and organized crime in Turin, Italy. The court sentenced him to 11 years in prison.
A rally was held in front of the parliament in solidarity with Irakli Bebua, who was illegally detained by the so-called authorities of occupied Abkhazia in the Gali district. On October 19, the Social Justice Center, a watchdog, reported that Bebuas’ health was deteriorating. The parents and family members of Irakli Bebua and the opposition attended the rally, demanding his release and return to the Georgia-controlled territory. Irakli Bebua was detained and sentenced to nine years in jail after setting fire to a decorative banner in Abkhaz flag colors to protest the “Victory and Independence Day” celebration in the Gali district.
The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) announced it will keep the key refinancing rate at 10%. According to the NBG, inflation in Georgia remains low, below the target rate of 3%, while headline inflation stood at 0.7% and core inflation was 2.5%. The NBG also estimated that “inflation will remain below the 3% target throughout the rest of 2023, and it will stabilize around it.”