Lithuanian, foreign committee chairs urge Georgia to find political means to solve crisis

  • 2021-02-28
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Zygimantas Pavilionis, chairman of the Lithuanian parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with a group of foreign counterparts, have urged Georgia to use political means to resolve the existing crisis.

"We call on the Georgians to come together to find political solutions to the problems we have seen emerge in recent years and not to resort to the tactics we have seen practiced by others to the detriment of the interests of the Georgian people," a joint statement issued on Friday says.

It was issued by the Foreign Committee chairmen from several countries, including Robert Menendez, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate of the United States of America, Norbert Rottgen, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Bundestag of the Federal Republic of Germany, and Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

The statement was also signed by Marko Mihkelson, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu of the Republic of Estonia, Rihards Kols, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia, Marek Kuchcinski, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, and Pavel Fischer, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security of the Senate of the Czech Republic.

"The storming of the office of the United National Movement, the largest opposition party in Georgia, in order to arrest Nika Melia, its Chairman, exposed the fragility of democracy and freedom in Georgia. Violence is incompatible with the stated aspirations of the Georgian Government and contravenes the 8 March 2020 Agreement between the government and opposition and facilitated by ambassadors of the European Union and the United States in Tbilisi," the joint statement reads.

Pavilionis visited Georgia last week. His statements during a press conference attended with representatives of several opposition forces angered the ruling party.

Georgia's Prime Minister-designate Irakli Garibashvili said Pavilionis' statements were "unacceptable and outrageous".

Cited by the local news website, Garibashvili said that "we are a welcoming country but the offensive language from our guests is absolutely unacceptable".

According to the website, Pavilionis said during the press conference that that the detention of Nikanor Melia, leader of the opposition United National Movement, would be followed by an international response and possibly sanctions.

Speaking earlier with BNS about his visit to Georgia, Pavilionis rejected any reproach, saying that his goal to bring the disagreeing sides to the negotiation table should not offend any of the sides.

Georgia has been in the midst of a deepening political crisis lately, sparked by last year's parliament election, after the country's previous Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia stepped down over the ruling party's plans to detain opposition leader Melia.

An attempt to detain Melia, leader of the United National Movement, a political party founded by ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili sparked the opposition's anger.

Georgia's several Western allies have also issued warning to Tbilisi.

The Georgian opposition maintains that the general election on October 31, which the ruling Georgian Dream party won with a slim majority, was rigged.