The abnormal practice of managing the situation behind the scenes in Georgia must end, every day of the political crisis is a lost day for Georgia’s opportunities, and if the political crisis in Georgia is not resolved quickly, the Georgian people will have to pay the price. German Marshall Fund) American diplomats Ian Kelly and David Jr. spoke at an online discussion on March 23 about the political crisis in Georgia. Kramer.
“We are not on the side of either the opposition or the government. We do not want to see how the Georgian people are suffering from a political crisis that must be resolved in order for Georgia to be able to move forward. This is the interest of Georgia and this is the interest of the United States. “, – said David Kramer.
It should be noted that Ian Kelly and David Kramer are the authors of the report on Georgia published last week “Country on the Edge: Aid to Georgia”.
It analyzes the current political developments in Georgia since independence, shows the country’s place in the current geopolitical context and discusses the political crisis that threatens Georgia’s reputation as an “island of democracy in the region.”
Former US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly and former US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs David J. Kramer is well acquainted with Georgia, believes that this country in the South Caucasus is of strategic importance to the West, and, in terms of democratic development, Georgia can “play a role model” for other countries in the region.
David Kramer reiterated this assessment in the above-mentioned report during a discussion on March 23 and again called on the United States to be more actively involved in resolving the current political crisis in Georgia. This applies to both the consultation and the concrete step reflected in the Kelly and Kramer recommendations.
- Pay more attention to Georgia’s successes, including through the US-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission.
- Encourage Georgia to stay on the democratic, pro-Western path.
- Leaving NATO and EU doors open for Georgia.
- Assistance to Georgia in defense.
- Repelling Russian threats against Georgia.
- Assist Georgia in building strong democratic institutions – including civil society and independent media.
- Signing a free trade agreement as soon as possible, etc.
The practice of behind-the-scenes management should be introduced in Georgia
“Georgia is at a strategic turning point in 2021 – it is on the verge of pluralism and one-party rule, integration with the Western Democratic Community and alignment with Russia.”, Write Kelly and Kramer. According to them, the future of Georgia, “first of all, is in the hands of the Georgians themselves.”
Accordingly, the political forces of Georgia themselves must find a way out of the political crisis created after the disputed parliamentary elections in October, put an end to the practice of governing behind the scenes in Georgia and end “personalized politics”, which David Kramer called “abnormal” during the March 23 debate.
“Anyone who wants to gain influence and power in Georgia must either take an elected position or be appointed with the support of parliament. But when there is someone behind the scenes, it is not normal for the development of Georgia. I know that Mr. Ivanishvili has said he is leaving politics, but it is clear that he is running the process from behind the scenes. Georgia needs to abandon this jointly personified policy, be it Saakashvili or Ivanishvili. Georgia needs widely supported political platforms. “It is abnormal to use power after coming to power so that the opposition can never return to power.”, – said David Kramer in an online discussion on March 23, which was remotely monitored by more than twenty experts and journalists, including from Georgia.
One of the questions was about possible sanctions against the Georgian authorities, which are being heard in Georgia and abroad after the arrest of Nika Melia, the leader of the main political controversy in the country, especially the leader of the main opposition party.
Former US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly believes that more than sanctions now, a political compromise is needed, without which Georgia will not be able to realize its top international political priority.
“I do not think it is necessary to talk about sanctions now. If we are talking about the current status quo, which is hindering Georgia from achieving its top international priority, then, in my opinion, this should be a sufficient incentive for both sides to reach a compromise. I think NATO’s position on this issue was actually much clearer. I want to hear the EU simply say, “This is inadmissible.” That the current situation will not lead you to the top priority of your foreign policy, to joining the European Union. “, – said Ian Kelly, who expressed hope that the process of political dialogue initiated by the EU mediation in Georgia will finally end successfully. David Kramer shares his optimism.
Each subsequent day – a day lost for opportunities
Georgia, which aspires to join the Euro-Atlantic structures, is fulfilling its commitment as a NATO partner, especially by contributing to the Alliance’s international operations, David Kramer said in a March 23 discussion, referring to the presence of Georgian troops in Afghanistan.
But when it comes to democracy, Georgia has yet to prove that it continues to do so, as evidenced by the resolution of the current political crisis.
“We are not on the side of either the opposition or the government. We do not want to see how the people of Georgia are suffering from a political crisis that must be resolved in order for Georgia to be able to move forward. This is the interest of Georgia and this is also the interest of the United States. So we believe that no matter how much it costs, this problem will be solved quickly. One extra day of crisis will be a lost day for Georgia’s opportunity. This crisis must be resolved, because it is not normal for the population of the country and Georgia, which is fighting a pandemic and which will have to pay a price, if the crisis is not resolved immediately. “, – said Kramer.
During the discussion held on March 23, the mediation process aimed at resolving the political crisis in Georgia at the initiative of the European Union was repeatedly emphasized, which will be resumed this weekend.
Ian Kelly and David Kramer also noted that they look forward to the event scheduled for today in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Senate Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security will hold a hearing on “Strengthening Democracy in Georgia”.
According to the website of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the meeting will be chaired by the chairman of the subcommittee, Democrat Senator Jean Shaheen. He was one of the US senators and congressmen who criticized the Georgian government for the operation to arrest Nika Melia, the leader of the United National Movement.