GD Blames U.S. for Blackmail, Shifts Responsibility for Improving Bilateral Relations to U.S.

On May 21, the Political Council of Georgian Dream issued a statement regarding media reports on the introduction of the “Megobari Act” (Mobilizing and Enhancing Georgia’s Options for for Building Accountability, Resilience and Independence Act) in the U.S. Congress, saying that there is no guarantee the bill will be passed, that the U.S. is making a mistake by choosing to blackmail Georgia into “selling its sovereignty” for better relations with America, as well as putting all the responsibility for improving U.S.-Georgian relations on the U.S. side.

The “Megobari Act” envisages visa liberalization and a free trade agreement with Georgia if GD abolishes the Foreign Agents Law, stops anti-Western rhetoric, and returns to the democratic vector of development. At the same time, the Act outlines sanctions if these conditions aren’t met. GD points out that the Act hasn’t been passed yet and “the prospects for its passage are very vague,” saying that in the past two similar bills have been introduced in Congress, neither of which saw the light of day.

GD states that the first and foremost reason for the adoption of the Foreign Agents Law and the anti-Western rhetoric is the polarization in Georgia mainly caused by foreign-funded NGOs and their attempts to create a revolution. At the same time, GD claims that Georgia is a constant target of attacks from American politicians, which is why they are met with the same rhetoric. Due to this situation, GD says that there is no alternative to adopting the Law and that the responsibility for better relations lies on the U.S. side. GD adds that it should happen with Americans showing respect to the Georgian people and government, not with blackmail and mistaken actions like this Act.

“The Georgian government is not playing games. We are adopting the law on transparency of NGOs because we see no other way to bring peace to this country… This law is not a bargaining chip for us, but an effective means of protecting the sovereignty of Georgia, and we cannot bargain with the sovereignty of the country under any circumstances. Nor can we leave unjust attacks on Georgia unanswered. This is our responsibility to the Georgian people, who gave us the mandate to lead the country,” – reads the statement.

GD outlines what steps the U.S. government could have taken to show a “dignified attitude” toward Georgia. They point out that the U.S. should have: unconditionally granted visa liberalization to Georgians and free trade; put money into the Georgian economy, as it did in 2009-2011, when it had “to save Saakashvili’s government from economic crisis”; the U.S. should have made NGOs stop deligitimizing the government and planning revolutions [which the statement says GD was able to avert twice since 2020]; should have ceased the use of EU integration issue “as a constant blackmail against Georgia” so that the EU would open accession negotiations with Georgia by the end of the year.

GD underlines that if U.S. had taken these actions, than the Foreign Agents’ Law would not have been necessary at all, however “today there is no alternative to the adoption of the Law on Transparency of NGOs”. They also point out that “qualitative rearrangement of relations” is possible in maximum one year timeframe, and if the U.S. realizes what it has to do, then relations will improve quickly, however if it doesn’t, then both Georgia’s and the U.S.’s interests will be damaged.

“As already mentioned, everything is in the hands of the partners, and Georgia as a small country cannot change anything unilaterally. Therefore, we should hope that rational thinking will prevail in America, which will only benefit both countries,” – concludes the statement.

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