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With the involvement of the Georgian government and Philip Reeker, Azerbaijan released 15 Armenian citizens detained during the conflict
According to the Georgian government, with the facilitation of Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili and the involvement of the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker, Azerbaijan extradited 15 hostages to Armenia, who returned to Armenia via Georgia.
“The Prime Minister of Georgia welcomes the decision of the neighbouring countries, which should lay the groundwork for reducing tensions in the region and creating an atmosphere of cooperation in the long run,” the government administration said in a statement.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken thanked the Georgian government for the mediation between the opposing parties. “We thank the Government of Georgia for playing a key role in mediating the discussions between the parties,” the Secretary-General tweeted.
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has said that Georgia has returned to its historic role of mediator, with the United States and the European Union returning to the Caucasus.
Irakli Kobakhidze ‘s interviews in the media critical of the government
Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of the Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia, gave an interview to several media outlets critical of the government. In an extensive interview with the “Mtavari Channel“, Irakli Kobakhidze, the chairman of the Georgian Dream, spoke about the disagreements in the government during the rule of Giorgi Gakharia and the upcoming local elections. The chairman of the ruling party once again expressed suspicions that the former head of government was allegedly acting by a coup planned by the National Movement. According to Kobakhidze, there may have been “some mercantile motive” behind Gakharia’s actions.
The leader of the ruling party also said that “as soon as the Georgian Dream had a problem during that short period, it was about a year [of Giorgi Gakharia’s Interior Ministry], all related to the special operations organized by Gakharia.” Before Gakharia’s resignation “We thought it was a mistake” , Said Kobakhidze, hinting that the former prime minister may have been doing activities subversive of the Georgian Dream.
In the interview, Kobakhidze also spoke about the ruling party’s plans for the local elections, noting that they will start preparing for the upcoming elections “soon.” “We are confident that we will have a good result in this election, including in terms of this 43% threshold,” Kobakhidze said. He did not confirm whether the incumbent mayor of Tbilisi, Kakha Kaladze, would run again, noting that nominating a
a candidate at an early stage would give opponents an upper hand- so it is acceptable for a candidate to be nominated directly before the election.
As for the letter published by Ivanishvili after leaving politics, in which he called Gakharia a “traitor” for resigning over the arrest of Nika Melia, the chairman of the Georgian Dream said that Bidzina Ivanishvili’s name was used for political speculation and that he was obliged to explain it to the public.
Georgia in NATO Brussels Summit Communiqué
The heads of 30 NATO member states and governments issued a communiqué at the Brussels Summit on June 14, which, among other things, reemphasised the decision of the 2008 Bucharest Summit that “Georgia will become a member of the Alliance and the Membership Action Plan will be part of the process.”
NATO leaders stressed that they strongly support Georgia’s right to determine its future and foreign policy course without outside interference. According to the document, the Alliance supports Georgia in increasing resilience against hybrid threats, in training and exercises, as well as insecure communications.
The communiqué states that by making a “significant contribution” to NATO operations, Georgia, in turn, has shown its readiness and ability to contribute to Euro-Atlantic security.
NATO welcomes the EU-brokered agreement reached on 19 April. NATO leaders said the agreement “will pave the way for significant reforms that will help Georgia, as an aspirant country, move forward on the path to membership.”