President Zurabishvili’s Interview to BBC

In her interview with BBC News on April 17 the President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili said that the Foreign Agents law is a “a direct provocation”, a way to obstruct the EU integration and “to put obstacles to free and fair elections” calling the upcoming Parliamentary elections a “main test.”

President Zurabishvili said the draft law is a “big concern” as “it is exactly a copy of Putin’s law that was adopted in 2012.” She said: “It’s a law against the NGOs activities, against media activities and it’s a law against all the international organizations of our partners countries- European countries, Great Britain, or the US – that have been supporting Georgia’s independence, the building of state institutions, the development of our economy for the last 30 years and more.”

Salome Zurabishvili said that the reintroduction of the law “is a direct provocation to the rule of law and society”.

Responding to the presenter’s question about the GD narrative that the law is needed to ensure financial transparency, President said that “everything is very transparent” because the international organizations that support Georgia are subject to very strict rules when it comes to the transparency of their support and all details can be found on their websites.

She added: “What is not transparent is the corruption at the highest level of the government, which is not transparent in the way decisions are taken, especially this decision on re-introducing this law… Who decided that this law should be reintroduced- is it in Georgia or is it beyond our borders, is it in Moscow, that decision has been taken?” she asked rhetorically. “That is the main questions about transparency that Georgian population is asking, and we are in third day of massive and peaceful demonstration,” Salome Zurabishvili added.

Asked if she thought this law meant that Georgia’s chances of joining the EU could be dashed, President Zurabishvili said: “It’s a law that clearly shows the intent of some in power to obstruct our way to [EU] integration, but people are determined to go that way.” She further added: “The main test will be on October 26 with the elections” adding that the law “is also a way to put an obstacle to free and fair elections.” However, she expressed her belief that this will not happen due to the protests of the Georgian people.

Salome Zurabishvili also confirmed that she would veto the law, just as she had done with other GD laws, adding: “My veto is the voice of the people, and it will be heard loud and clear.”

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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