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U.S. Assistant Secretary Jim O’Brien Visits Georgia

The US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Jim O’Brien Jim O’Brien is on a visit to Georgia on May 14, the same day when the ruling party plans to adopt the highly controversial Foreign Agents ‘ law. The visit is taking place amid the crisis, international criticism and mass protests prompted by the re-introduction of the law by the ruling Georgian Dream party. Jim O’Brien already met with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze. He will meet with opposition representatives, civil society, and the private sector and hold a press conference on the results of his visit later in the day.

The government’s press release on the meeting said that “a long meeting was held during which a serious discussion was held on all issues of Georgian-American relations, including the processes developed in Georgia in recent years.” The government noted: “The head of the government and the US Assistant Secretary of State shared their concerns about these processes.”

The official press release said that Irakli Kobakhidze “explained to Jim O’Brien the need to adopt the law “On Transparency of Foreign Influence” and reiterated the readiness of the leadership team to carefully consider all legal comments of international partners within the framework of the veto procedure.”

The Prime Minister noted that the Government of Georgia is interested in deepening the partnership with the United States, “which requires mutual efforts and fair relations.”

“Held a lengthy meeting with the U.S. Assistant Secretary Jim O’Brien, a frank discussion of all topics related to Georgia-U.S. relations, including the development of events in Georgia in the past several years. During the meeting, we exchanged concerns about these events. I explained the need to pass a Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence to Jim O’Brien and once again expressed the readiness of the ruling team to consider all the legal arguments of international partners within the veto procedure with all due attention. I noted that Government of Georgia is interested in deepening its partnership with the U.S. which requires mutual effort and fair approach,” PM Kobakhidze tweeted after the meeting.

A day earlier, Georgian Prime Minsiter Irakli Kobakhidze said at a press-conference that Jim O’Brien requested a meeting with the honorary chairman of the Georgian Dream party Bidzina Ivanishvili, but that request was rejected by Ivanishvili. According to the Prime Minister, the issue of “sanctions” is at the heart of the problem and has been the reason of Ivanishvili’s refusal to meet with other foreign diplomats and politicians.

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