German FM Annalena Baerbock visited Georgia

Analena Berbock, Germany’s Foreign Minister, began her first official visit to Georgia with a meeting with civil society representatives, followed by meetings with her Georgian counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ilia Darchiashvili, President Salome Zurabishvili, and a visit to the Tskhinvali occupation line. Analena Berbok also met with Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, opposition leaders, and students.

According to the information by GYLA, civil society representatives focused on the issues related to human rights situation in Georgia and stressed the importance for Georgia of the receipt of the EU candidate’s status during their meeting with the German FM.

At the press conference with the Foreign Minister of Georgia Ilia Darchiasvhili, Annalena Baerbock stressed the importance of meeting the 12 EU priorities for EU candidate status, with particular emphasis on issues such as the rule of law, freedom of speech, strong civil society and depolarization. She reiterated Germany’s support for Georgia on this path. She said: “This is the moment when we cannot retreat”. She emphasized that the EU path means that “steps must be taken.” The German foreign minister also emphasized that the road to the EU “cannot be reduced, especially in terms of values”.

According to her, Germany is watching the ongoing processes in Georgia very carefully. She also spoke of the “intense impression” he was made by the mass protests in Tbilisi when he saw demonstrators waving EU flags. 

President Zurabishvili discussed the issues related to the European integration process of Georgia at the meeting with the head of the German Foreign Ministry. According to the presidential administration, President Zurabishvili emphasized the importance of Analena Burbok’s visit as an expression of Germany’s continued support for Georgia’s independence and European integration.  According to the same information, Salome Zurabishvili also said at the meeting that “Georgia’s population will not accept a second refusal regarding the EU candidate status and will consider themselves abandoned by Europe in such a difficult situation.”

According to the Georgian government administration, Irakli Gharibashvili and Analena Berbok discussed the fruitful cooperation between Georgia and Germany in various fields, the progress achieved by Georgia on the path of European integration, and the dynamics of implementation of the recommendations of the European Commission to obtain candidate status. They discussed the security situation and issues in the area and throughout the world, emphasising “Georgia’s crucial role” in bolstering the Black Sea region’s security. Prime Minister Gharibashvili praised Germany’s Foreign Minister for his political and practical assistance, as well as for his support for the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity on the path to European integration.

Georgian Dream MPs, who did not vote for the Russian law,  are leaving the parliament

6 deputies of “Georgian Dream”, who did not vote for the Russian law on foreign agents, leave their parliamentary mandates and will be appointed to other positions. 

Irakli Kovzanadze, the Chairman of the Finance and Budget Committee, has already written a statement about leaving the mandate. According to him, “he is leaving politics altogether”. 

Another MP of parliamentary majority Giorgi Khelashvili is appointed as an adviser to the Speaker of the Parliament, Shalva Papuashvili. 

Vladimer Chachibaya and Nino Iobashvili were appointed as advisers to the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Former Minister of Labor, Health and Social Defence, deputy of Saburtalo single-member district Davit Sergeenko announced that he is leaving the Parliament. Elections in his district will be held in April. 

Elguja Gotsiridze did not vote for “Russian law” either, although it is not known what decision he will make.

Non-governmental Organizations address Olivér Várhelyi

In an open letter to the European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, 15 non-governmental organizations welcome the European Commission’s decision to prepare an interim assessment of Georgia’s implementation of the 12 priorities for candidate status in the spring and call for the assessment to be made “public and accessible to stakeholders, including the country’s civil society”.

“The publicity of the European Commission’s interim assessment will ensure the transparency of the process, allow for the active participation of civil society in it, and contribute significantly to the effective monitoring of the implementation of the priorities,” say the CSOs in a letter dated 23 March.

Noting that the involvement of civil society in the decision-making process at all levels is one of the 12 priorities on the European Commission’s list for Georgia, NGOs stress that Georgia “has a strong civil society that plays a very important role in the country’s European integration process”.

“Our main objective is to facilitate Georgia’s accession to the European Union and, accordingly, to obtain the status of candidate country for the European Union. “Civil society is actively monitoring the implementation by the government of the 12 recommendations,” the letter reads.

Bzhania echoes Georgian Dream “Second Front” rhetoric

“From the military-political point of view, the international situation is extremely difficult. Russia is forced to conduct a special military operation. More than 50 countries are fighting against our ally, including all of Europe and the USA. The same forces want to overthrow the government of Georgia and open a second front”, said the leader of occupied Abkhazia, Aslan Bzhania, on March 21, during his speech at the 14th Congress of the “Amtsakhara” party.

Repeating the messages of the “Georgian Dream” government about the efforts to open the “second front”, Bzhania emphasized that large-scale political actions are planned in April and May of this year in Georgia for these purposes. “Today, the situation is more difficult than it was in 2008,” Bzhania added.

Bzhania expressed regret that the so-called agreement of November 24, 2014 between the “Republic of Abkhazia” and the Russian Federation. The opportunities established in the “Alliance and Strategic Partnership Agreement” to strengthen Abkhazia’s defense capabilities and create a common space for defense and security were not adequately realized.

According to the local source, Without specifying details, Aslan Bzhania spoke about the “large-scale” work carried out for the mobilization and military readiness of Abkhazia’s armed forces. “We don’t need war, but we are ready for anything. Together, in alliance and unity with our brother Russia,” Bzhania added.

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