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The Daily Beat: 24 June

The EU will downgrade the high-level contacts with Georgia and consider freezing financial aid to the Georgian Dream government after it passed the controversial Law on Foreign Agents, the EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borell told reporters following the meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers in Luxemburg. He also warned that the EU door would be closed to Georgia and the Georgian people would suffer the consequences if the government continued on the same track.

All U.S. partners, including Georgia, will be invited to participate in NATO partnership events, Jim O’Brien, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs said on June 24. In his remarks, the Assistant Secretary of State also noted that the U.S. is “very troubled” by the decisions and rhetoric “coming from a very small number of leaders” of the GD. He further clarified that if Georgia wants to join the Western political “clubs”, it will have to accept the rules of the club, stressing that this does not question the country’s sovereignty.

Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze spoke of the “unification of the country” through “strategic patience” and the importance of EU integration at the Independence Day reception that was held in Berlin.  “We also have a very important national task, which is to join the European Union. We have an ambitious goal for Georgia to become a member of the European Union by 2030,” said the prime minister. The event was attended by representatives of the Georgian government, ambassadors of Georgia, the Georgian diaspora in Germany, and German guests.  

The Independence Day event was preceded by the Ambassadorial Conference held on June 20 in Berlin. Commenting on the Ambassadorial Conference, PM Kobakhidze said that relations with the EU and the US have to be “reset” and “become healthy,” further noting that despite some difficulties in EU-Georgia relations, by 2030 Georgia will become an EU member state. The Ambassadorial was attended by the Georgian ambassadors to the United States and European countries, as well as the permanent representatives of Georgia to the European Union, NATO, and other international organizations.

President Salome Zurabishvili addressed a video message to Georgian Ambassadors to Europe gathered in Berlin, expressing regret that she was not allowed to address the ambassadors in person. “You are in the middle of Europe, and you are listening to lies, lies that our European voyage seemingly continues,” said the President in her video message. “I am not going to lecture you or make any suggestions. I want to say that Georgia’s ordinary citizens will be facing extraordinary choices on October 26 [Parliamentary elections], but for you, the time to choose is now,” concluded Zurabishvili.

In the meantime, former Ambassador of Georgia Irakli Koplatadze announced that he was leaving the foreign service. He last served as Georgian Ambassador in Slovenia. In his post on Facebook, he writes that he is leaving after 18 years of continuous diplomatic service, saying it has been a “privilege” to serve “the best interests of Georgia’s independence and joining the European Union and NATO.” In his second Facebook post, Koplatadze explained that despite being offered the ambassadorial appointment to a European country, given the anti-Western stance of the Georgian government, he no longer sees his place in the diplomatic arena.

On June 22, ALDE (Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe party) adopted an urgent resolution on Georgia “Condemning the authoritarian and anti-European turn in Georgia” at the ALDE Party Council meeting in Vilnius. The resolution also acknowledged the Georgian people’s will to join the EU and called on the EU and European countries to impose travel bans and financial sanctions on Georgian Dream leaders and officials, “Russian law” initiators, as well as law enforcement involved in violence against peaceful activists and politicians.

On June 21, the Chinese Embassy in Tbilisi releasedstatement deploring the remarks made by U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Robin Dunnigan on awarding the contract to construct Anaklia Deep Sea Port to China Communications Construction Company. In its statement, the Chinese Embassy claims that Amb. Dunnigan’s assertions about China Communications Construction Company are “preposterous and seriously inconsistent with facts,” further accusing the U.S. diplomat of being unprofessional when making a statement.


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