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Mathew Miller: US will not Hesitate to Impose Sanctions

Speaking at a press conference on June 3, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller reiterated the US readiness to impose sanctions on those individuals who undermine Georgian democracy, saying that the US will not hesitate to impose sanctions in accordance with the announced new sanctions policy towards Georgia.

His comments come amid growing expectations of imminent US sanctions against individuals “responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Georgia, as well as their family members,” as announced by Secretary Anthony Blinken on May 24. Since then, numerous statements have been made by GD representatives on the issue, both on the inadmissibility of sanctions and on their improbability. Meanwhile, on June 3, unconfirmed first reports surfaced of alleged notices sent to GD officials informing them of the sanctions measures taken against them.

Asked about the U.S. actions against the backdrop of accusations by Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili and other officials, including Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze, that Western foundations are financing terror and violence, and against the backdrop of their threats to close non-governmental organizations, and how he expects Georgian officials to apply the law, Miller said he would not comment on the application of the law, but emphasized that the U.S. is concerned “that this law moves Georgia from its democratic trajectory and could stigmatize civil society and stifle the freedoms of association and expression, and that the actions fundamentally alter the US relationship with Georgia.” He noted that due to these steps the US has launched “a review of our relationship and we will continue our response to the actions that the government of Georgia has taken.”

Matthew Miller was further asked to comment on Mayor Kaladze’s remarks of June 3 that GD had “done nothing” to deserve sanctions and that there won’t be any, State Department Spokesperson said: “We have announced a new sanctions policy, we have not yet announced individual sanctions and I will leave it at that. But we have made clear we will not hesitate to impose them.”

Asked why did Secretary Blinken make no mention of Georgia during his recent trip to Eastern Europe, Miller said: “The Secretary just put out a statement announcing an entire comprehensive review of our policy with respect to Georgia that could jeopardize hundreds of millions of dollars of assistance that we provide to Georgia” and announced a new visa restriction policy “that you should fully expect to see the U.S. take action on.”

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

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