Senators in Tbilisi – more reform, more security

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The senators say that Georgia needs more reforms and that the success of the reforms will determine the success of them, including Georgia’s rapprochement with NATO. U.S. lawmakers have stressed the need for all parties to work together to implement the Charles Michel Accords on April 19. The bipartisan delegation of the US Congress arrived in Georgia from Ukraine.

“At today’s meetings we talked about the importance of human rights, free and fair elections, electoral reform; Also – the importance of implementing the April 19 agreement (the so-called “Charles Michel Agreement”) with the participation of all parties … I think this is very important for Georgia and democracy … The development of an independent judiciary is so important that people will see what happens in a transparent environment “ – Democrat Senator Jin Shaheen said at a news conference on June 3.

Senator ჰahin also stressed the importance of the reforms in a post posted on Twitter a little later, where he in this regard “To continue the tense work “ Necessity for the citizens of Georgia “A Brighter and Safer Future” Connects with security.

Republican Senator Robert Portman also stressed at a news conference on June 3 that Georgia’s greater security is linked to quality reforms. He said that reforms are necessary for Georgia’s integration with the West and specifically with NATO.

“Georgia deserves to stand on the path to NATO membership and get involved in the Membership Action Plan (MAP) process. This cannot be decided by the United States alone, and the member states of the Alliance must decide by consensus. This even requires reforms.

“Apart from military reforms, modernization, reforms related to the rule of law and democracy are important … NATO membership will bring additional security to Georgia against the threat posed by Russia.” Said Senator Portman.

Elections and reforms of the judiciary were the main topics of the meeting between the representatives of the non-governmental sector and the senators, which took place on June 3 in Tbilisi.

As the participant of this meeting, Guram Imnadze, Director of the Justice Program of the Center for Social Justice, told RFE / RL, the meeting discussed a number of specific issues and problems.

“The main focus was on Charles Michel’s April 19 document; As well as the democratic needs in the country …

Clearly, we talked about the judiciary, the justice system, and the importance of fundamental reforms and the real independence of the judiciary. It was noted that the government should be able to manage political processes through active cooperation with the population. “ – Guram Imnadze told Radio Liberty.

According to Imnadze, the senators are well aware of the current situation in Georgia, including the steps taken by the High Council of Justice, which is unacceptable for Georgia’s international partners.

“A strong, vibrant civil society is a reassuring sign of democracy. “I am grateful to have met with Georgian civil society leaders to understand how the United States can better assist Georgia in strengthening its institutions and governance.” – Senator ინahin wrote on June 3, via Twitter, after meeting with representatives of the non-governmental sector.

Senators have long spoken of the need for judicial and electoral reform.

These issues became clear on March 23 in the US Senate, organized by Senator ჰahin. Listening, Which concerned Georgia. At a March meeting attended by State Department officials, Jin ჰahin said that Georgia’s 2020 parliamentary elections “On the verge of legitimacy” Held, and the quality of such elections is clearly different from that of democratic elections.

The Senate also said that judicial reform has been very protracted, which periodically causes public unrest, and that distrust of elections is largely due to shortcomings in the judiciary.

The issues discussed by members of the U.S. legislature and executive in the Senate on March 23 are still unresolved. The opposition and the government are still arguing over the content and forms of the “ambitious” electoral and judicial reform provided for in the Charles Michel Agreement.

Adding to the problems is the fact that, despite US warnings, a step has been taken in the judiciary that is unacceptable to the international community – in the High Council of Justice, in the face of apparent public distrust. 4 new judge members approved.

Before meeting with the Speaker and members of the majority, Senators ინიahin and Portman met with Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili.

According to the government administration, in addition to supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, the senators reaffirmed their support for Georgia’s integration into the European Union and NATO. The conversation, of course, was about reforms as well.

“The conversation focused on the political situation in the country. The Prime Minister noted that the ruling team is committed to the April 19 agreement and is taking appropriate steps to implement it. The congressmen noted that their visit was a bipartisan message that the United States supports Georgia in strengthening its democracy. “ – We read in a statement issued by the government administration.

The “rapid implementation” of the April 19 agreement is important for the senators, and this is confirmed by the bipartisan resolution submitted to the Senate. One of its signatories and initiators is Jin Shahin himself. Another co-author of the resolution, Republican Senator Jim Risch, said at the same time that the “Charles Michel Agreement” could mean that Georgia “To return to its Euro-Atlantic trajectory.”

Senators Shaheen and Rishi have made periodically rather harsh critical statements over the past few months. They pointed to the democratic backwardness and the existence of politically motivated justice in Georgia.

Most recently, on June 3, senators met with representatives of opposition parties, including the largest opposition party, the United National Movement, which had just decided to enter parliament but refused to sign the Charles Michel Agreement. The senators wished, and it was also mentioned at the press conference, that the UNM should sign this agreement.

The opposition came to the meeting with the American senators with great attitude, but not only to talk about the domestic political life.

“Internal Georgian political issues are important, however, when our colleagues of this rank arrive in Georgia, the issues under discussion are usually even more important than domestic political issues. This concerns regional challenges, security issues, in the regional context, of course, the economic situation, democracy and its quality in Georgia.

It will not be just a matter of talking about the current political crisis in recent months, which unfortunately has not ended. I am sure that today’s meeting will not end in vain. I am glad that our strategic partners of this rank are directly present in Georgia “ – said Nika Melia, the chairperson of EMN.

Gene ინიahin and Robert Portman arrived in Tbilisi from Kiev late at night on June 2, where they spoke clearly about Russian aggression and the importance of Ukraine’s membership in NATO and the European Union.

On June 3, a bipartisan delegation from the US Legislature began a busy day with meetings in support of Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. They were accompanied by the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM).

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