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Statement of the Heads of Missions of the European Union countries and the European Commission Delegation

Friday, May 8
The Heads of Missions of the European Union countries and the European Commission Delegation recall their Statements from March 27, 2009, April 24 2009 and the Czech Presidency Statement prior the April 9 demonstrations in Tbilisi of April 7, 2009.

The European Union member states and the European Commission Delegation continue to closely follow the ongoing processes in Georgia. We strongly condemn all acts of humiliation, intimidation and violence. For example, scenes outside the Public Broadcaster where journalists were verbally and physically assaulted prompted our concern and are simply unacceptable.

Throughout the world, on 3 May the World Press Freedom Day is celebrated. We recognise that the freedom of media in Georgia needs to be strengthened, that the editorial independence and journalistic freedom need to be protected. We are supporting all efforts in this regard, but we are also supporting the journalist's right to be met with respect and to carry out their work in dignity.

We encourage the authorities to, in full transparency, continue the investigations into all alleged violent acts and assaults, this leading to swift conclusions, bringing the cases to be tried before the courts. We also urge all sides to show restraint and refrain from violent and inflammatory language and behavior.

We reaffirm that freedom of peaceful assembly is one of the key rights of the citizen in all democratic countries. With that right also follows obligations to ensure order and that manifestations are conducted causing minimal inconvenience for the normal functioning of institutions and daily life of all citizens. We once again call on all parties to strictly abide by the laws of the country and standards of peaceful public gathering.

The Heads of Missions of the European Union countries and European Commission Delegation also reiterate their appeal to all sides to engage into serious and constructive talks in order to overcome the current deadlock and undertake the political reforms necessary to consolidate the Georgian democracy. Freedom of Media issues could be a part of these talks. We confirm our readiness to support positive steps taken in order to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in the country.

The EUSR for South Caucasus aligns himself with this statement.
Tbilisi, May 6, 2009