Visit of American Senators to Georgia

American Senators in Georgia

US Senator and Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee Chair on European and Regional Security Cooperation Jean Shaheen and Senate Ukraine Group Chair Dick Durbin are on a visit to Georgia to discuss a proposed law on “foreign agents”. , initiated by MPs who left the ruling Georgian Dream Party to form a splinter movement.

At a press conference, Shaheen claimed the law had nothing to do with its American analogue, but rather was a copy of a similar Russian law. The same law was adopted by Hungary, but it turned out to be incompatible with EU standards and human rights, according to the senator.

The draft law “On the Transparency of Foreign Influence” initiated by the “People’s Power” movement has been submitted to the Georgian Parliament.

Journalists immediately protested a perceived threat to media freedom in Georgia.

The parliamentary majority wants to determine the final position in the next two weeks.

Shaheen said the issues of de-oligarchization and the EU’s 12 points for a candidacy were discussed at a meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.

Shaheen also noted that it is extremely important for journalists to have the opportunity to work freely in their profession. According to the senator, freedom of the media and human rights are among the most important recommendations of the European Union and Georgia must rise to the challenge.

“For thirty years, the US has supported the aspirations of Georgia and the Georgian people to live in a democratic, prosperous and prosperous country, and it has supported Georgia’s aspirations to become a member of the European Union and NATO. And we reiterated that support in today’s meetings.

We also recommended that the government continue to support issues such as accountability and transparency and to promote the desire of the Georgian people for Euro-Atlantic integration and rapprochement with Europe,” Shaheen said.

Asked about Mikheil Saakashvili at a press conference, Senator Dick Durbin urged treating him humanely:

“I know Saakashvili personally. I met him when he was President. We are following his situation closely. I am not aware of any charges against him. I’m no expert, but I’ve heard his health is deteriorating. He has the right to be treated humanely.”

On February 16, US State Department official Ned Price responded to MPs’ initiative to formally part with the “Georgian dream” about “foreign agents,” stating that such a law poses a potential threat to the euro would create -Atlantic Movement of Georgia. According to Price, the law is not based on the American, but on the Russian and Hungarian versions of this legislative act.

According to Price, the proposed law will exclude and silence the independent voice of Georgian citizens who strive to create a better future for their society.

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Deputies, who officially split from the Georgian Dream party and founded the Vlast Naroda movement, registered in parliament the draft law On Transparency of Foreign Influence, which affects the activities of organizations working with foreign funding .

Georgian NGOs receiving funds from foreign sources are required to register in the “foreign agent” register. According to one of the movement’s leaders and former public defender Sozar Subari, this will be an analogue of Western financial transparency and will have nothing in common with the Russian model.

According to Guram Macharashvili, another leader of People’s Power, based on the principles of openness and transparency, the public should know the sources of income not only from politicians who make decisions, but also from NGOs and media, who influence public decisions and themselves take an active part in discussions of legislative and executive bodies when forming public opinion or passing laws or resolutions.

According to Macharashvili, the question of registering the above subjects as agents of foreign influence is raised by the National Agency of the State Register.