GD Accuses U.S. of “Blackmail”, Downplays Restrictions

On May 24, the Political Council of the ruling Georgian Dream party issued a statement in response to the announcement by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken of a visa restriction policy against Georgian officials for the Foreign Agents Law. The GD calls it a “blatant attempt to limit Georgia’s independence and sovereignty” which is “especially cynical” ahead of the country’s upcoming Independence Day on May 26. The ruling party also argues that “the spread of sanctions to family members is a Fascist-Bolshevik phenomenon”.

On May 23, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the expected Department of State’s visa restrictions that will apply “to individuals responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Georgia, as well as their family members.”  The Georgian Dream refuses to back off by saying that it is not going to “trade with the sovereignty and security of our country.”

According to the Georgian Dream, the US move is the continuation of the anti-Georgian rhetoric that has been going on since 2012, when the GD came to power.”The policy of blackmail and threats against Georgia does not correspond not only to the spirit of strategic partnership, but also to the general spirit of partnership that should be established between the two sovereign states.”

The statement says that it is “neither unexpected nor surprising” after the alleged death threats about sharing Slovakian PM Fico’s fate, directed as GD claims, at the PM Kobakhidze of Georgia. In the statement, the GD tries to downplay the significance of the restrictions citing the examples of Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose top officials are sanctioned but which, according to the GD, continue EU integration despite U.S. sanctions, and recalls the sanctions against Georgian judges, “which had no impact on the independence of the Georgian judiciary”.

GD says it will not succumb to the “blackmail” and calls on “everyone to act pragmatically and take effective steps to improve relations, which is equally in the interests of both the Georgian and American people.”

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