Baltic and Icelandic foreign ministers to make joint visit to Georgia

  • 2024-05-13
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Foreign Minister Baiba Braze on Wednesday will make a working visit to Georgia together with Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna, Icelandic Foreign Minister Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir, and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis.

The foreign ministers of the Baltic states and Iceland will have joint meetings with the President of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili, as well as the President of the Georgian Parliament, Shalva Papuashvili, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Ilja Darchiashvili, and representatives from the Parliament’s opposition parties. Meetings are also to be held with members of the Georgian Government and civil society organizations.

Following the talks, the Baltic and Icelandic foreign ministers and the Georgian president will give a joint press conference. 

During the visit, discussions will address current developments in Georgia, including the draft law On Transparency of Foreign Influence advanced by the Georgian parliament. The officials also intend to exchange views on Georgia’s reform process in relation to the progress of its integration into the European Union (EU), stemming from Georgia’s commitments as an EU candidate country, as well as the strengthening of resilience to the threat posed by Russia.

As reported, on May 10, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Baltic States and the Nordic countries launched a joint Nordic-Baltic Statement on Developments in Georgia.

The foreign ministers of the Baltic and Nordic (NB8) countries urged Georgian politicians to cancel the deliberation of the controversial "foreign agent" law, stressing that it runs counter European values and democracy and will undermine the country's ambition to become an EU member.

In a joint statement issued on Friday, the minister say the bill currently being debated in the Georgian parliament is "incompatible with European norms and values" and, if adopted, could be used to silence the media and civil society organizations that play an important role in helping Georgia to achieve EU membership.

"The claims by the Georgian authorities that the proposal resembles EU draft legislation are unfounded and misleading," the foreign ministers of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Denmark say.

In December, the EU granted Georgia candidate status on condition that the country implements the remaining recommendations made by the European Commission. However, the statement reads, the Georgian authorities have failed to make progress on these steps and have chosen "a concerning trajectory disrupting European future".

"The anti-Western rhetoric of Georgian authorities seriously risk undermining The EU candidate status was granted to Georgia on the understanding that 9 steps would be fulfilled. At this point, Georgian authorities have not made overall progress in fulfilling those steps," the ministers' statement reads.

The minister say want Georgia to take the "Euro-Atlantic path as desired by a large majority of the Georgian people".

The joint statement comes as Georgia is rocked by ongoing protests over the controversial bill.

If adopted, the law will require all independent NGOs and media organizations that receive more than a fifth of their funding from abroad to register as "an organization acting in the interests of a foreign state".

The opposition warns that the law could undermine the country's EU membership aspirations. Critics call the bill a "Russian law", referring to Russia's "foreign agent" law the Kremlin uses to silence its critics.