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NGOs unite on Georgia’s foreign course

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, February 14
17 Georgian NGOs aired a joint statement concerning Georgia’s foreign policy course. They stated that maintaining of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic path should be reflected in all possible legislative levers.

“After the October parliamentary elections, the new government strongly stated that Georgia will go onward in its path towards Europe. Currently, there is a unique situation in the country where through a wide political consensus, Georgia’s foreign policy direction should be legally guaranteed,” The NGOs state.

The NGOs underscored that both the majority and minority suggestions regarding creating guarantees for the course are acceptable and positive.

NGOs appealed to the parliament members from the majority and minority all three initiatives that have already been voiced by the parties to be undertaken.

“An inter-factional agreement over the issue, as well as the law concerning Georgia’s foreign course and making note in the constitution on the issues should be used,” the NGOs suggest and state that they will be actively involved in the discussion process in parliament and outside the legislative body as well.

The NGOs emphasized that Georgia should never become a member of organizations like the CIS, the Eurasian Union or any other organizations dominated by Russia.

Director of Civil Development Agency (CiDA) Zviad Devdariani stated that the main reason behind the airing of the initiative was wide speculation within civil society over the issue.

“I do not think the current government will change Georgia’s foreign policy course. However, if the issue is reflected on different legislative levels, no one within the government will be able to change Georgia’s future foreign policy direction,” Devdariani told The Messenger.

He also underscored that civil society should be actively involved in the process and use all legal means to represent and illustrate its position.

Instead of voting for the constitutional changes, the parliamentary minority demand the reflection of Georgia’s foreign policy direction in the constitution. According to the minority, under the new government of Georgia, the country’s foreign orientation is in question.

On its behalf, the majority states that Georgia’s foreign course is unchanged and the foreign community is also sure in this. The majority also stated that before the appeals made by the minority, Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee had explained the document revealing Georgia’s move to Europe. The majority is also ready to have Georgia’s foreign course reflected in the constitution. However, the restriction of the president’s power should precede the process, based on the majority.

Founder of Georgia’s Reforms Association (GRASS) Sergi Kapanadze, told the Messenger that the statement aimed to encourage the process. “We think that it was the right time for the NGOs to be involved in the process,” Kapanadze said.