MEPs call on Georgian government to transfer Saakashvili to EU country for treatment

A group of approximately 50 members of the European Parliament has issued a statement urging the Georgian authorities to transfer Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, to Europe for medical treatment.

According to Netgazeti, the recipients of the appeal are President Salome Zurabishvili, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, and Speaker of Parliament Shalva Papuashvili. The appeal was authored by several MEPs, including Petras Auštrevičius, Raphaël Glucksmann, Michael Gahler, Andrius Kubilius, Miriam Lexmann and others.

In their letter, the MEPs express concern about Saakashvili’s deteriorating physical condition, which was observed during his trial. They believe that his visible deterioration reflects a rapid and significant decline in his health.

The MEPs strongly believe that the current medical interventions are inadequate and do not ensure Saakashvili’s prompt recovery. They, therefore, urge the authorities to take urgent and morally correct measures to address the situation before it reaches a critical point. Specifically, they call for the “transfer of former President Saakashvili to one of the EU countries, where he can receive the necessary and appropriate medical services.”

“Any further integration between Georgia and the EU is based on demonstrating an equivalent unwavering commitment to fundamental humanitarian principles, including basic human compassion and the right of every individual to receive proper medical care. We trust that you will give this matter the utmost attention and take the necessary steps to ensure that Mr Saakashvili’s health and well-being are safeguarded,” MEPs wrote in the letter.

PM Gharibashvili: If Ukraine defeats Russia, what is the purpose of NATO membership?

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili recently commented on the NATO Vilnius summit and the messages received at the summit concerning Ukraine.

According to Gharibashvili, certain media outlets from the opposition have misrepresented the decisions made at the summit. He emphasises that their portrayal of a miraculous outcome for Ukraine and Georgia being left behind is inaccurate.

In reality, Gharibashvili explains that the situation is quite different. He questions the necessity of NATO membership for Ukraine if it has already defeated Russia. NATO’s role is to guarantee security, and the alliance is the primary entity that can ensure the security of any sovereign and independent state.

Gharibashvili underscores the significance of NATO membership, expressing Georgia’s aspiration to join the alliance. However, he also acknowledges that some Western leaders have made direct statements indicating that Ukraine is not yet prepared to become a NATO member. The opposition has accused Gharibashvili of promoting scepticism towards NATO and the West in general.

Tbilisi Pride Fest 2023 was cancelled 

Tbilisi Pride Fest 2023 was scheduled to take place on July 8 in Tbilisi. A few hours before the festival was set to begin, ultra-right groups supported by the government gathered in Tbilisi and made their way to the festival venue.

Tbilisi Pride reported that they had to evacuate due to the inability of law enforcement officers to secure the area.

According to Tbilisi Pride, the events of that day indicate a pre-coordinated and planned attack between the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the violent group Alt-Info. The disruption of the Pride Fest, which was the culmination of Pride Week, and the subsequent evacuation of participants were cited in their statement.

Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Aleksandre Darakhvelidze, stated that the maximum number of police officers available had been mobilised to provide security at the location. He acknowledged that ensuring complete safety and protection for all participants is challenging, especially in a large area with numerous attendees. Nevertheless, efforts were made to safeguard the life and well-being of every person.

Representatives of diplomatic missions and opposition parties have strongly criticised the disruption of the festival.

German Ambassador to Georgia Peter Fischer stated that the cancellation of Tbilisi Pride Fest 2023 violated the freedom of peaceful assembly in Georgia.

US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan expressed that arresting the individuals involved in the incident would contribute to a sense of safety for everyone. In response, Irakli Kobakhidze, the chairman of the “Georgian Dream” party, pointed out that it is not the ambassador’s role to issue orders regarding arrests.

British Ambassador to Georgia Mark Clayton expressed his dismay at the failure of the Pride festival, despite preparations and preventive measures. He called on the authorities to hold accountable those who aggressively obstructed a peaceful assembly.

Zurab Japaridze, the leader of the Girchi-More Freedom party, stated that “in this country, the police protect Ivanishvili, his power, and the gradual shift of the country’s development towards Russia. Here, the ruling party unites the State Security Service, the police, a biased court system, the influence of the Patriarchate, and the criminal underworld, including the organised group we witnessed today. Russia, Bidzina Ivanishvili, and their loyalists rely on these individuals. However, they will not be treated the same way they treat those who fight against Russia and oppose Bidzina Ivanishvili.”

The party Strategy Agmashenebeli, in response to the violence, accused the Georgian Dream party of organising and instigating the unrest.

The party’s official statement emphasises, “Violence carried out in the name of Christ goes against the principles of faith and our traditions. We stand against violence, and together we will emerge victorious.”

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