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Comments made by US congressmen strike a nerve in Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Monday, June 17
The Georgian media released information regarding US Congressmen airing a statement that could potentially lead to the deterioration of relations between Tbilisi and Washington.

The information in question pertains to a committee report from a bill by the House of Representatives, regarding the statements of Congress on Defense Cooperation with Georgia.

Congress' findings suggest that “the Republic of Georgia is a highly valued ally of the United States.” However, it also gives the opinion that the current conduct of Georgian officials – specifically the detention of former high ranking officials, might negatively influence US support for Georgia. The main pathos of the letter is that Georgia should stop the detention of former officials, as these actions appear to be political pursuits and the vendetta of the current administration.

Georgian political circles offer wide ranging opinions about this statement.

In response, many Georgian politicians expressed their dissatisfaction and protest towards US interference in Georgia’s domestic affairs. Some Georgian analysts have reminded their US colleagues that a special investigation was launched against former US President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal; eventually Nixon had to resign. Another US President, Bill Clinton, also faced legal action because of the Monica Lewinsky affair. In both cases, US Presidents had to answer several awkward questions, but it is the part of a democracy. Holding a high position does not offer immunity.

There are many past cases where politicians have had to answer for their behavior.

Helmut Coll, Jacques Chirac, Silvio Berlusconi, and others were obliged to answer a lot of questions from the investigators or prosecutor’s office. As they say, the former Mayor of Tessaloniki, Greece, is serving a life sentence, so the position of some US officials cause questions among their Georgian partners.

Georgian Ambassador to US, Archil Gegeshidze, thinks this is a result of misinformation received from Georgia by US friends. Georgian analysts suspect that the ss United National Movement (UNM) does its best to somehow discredit the current Georgian administration by feeding US colleagues with the wrong information.

It is recommended to Georgia’s American friends to dig deeper in the essence of reality in Georgia. It means that Georgian legislative bodies are free to receive as many observers as possible to monitor the investigation process in the country instead of making decisions based on the wrong data.

Opinion has been disseminated in Georgia that if the US will further distance itself from Georgia, pro-Russian forces might take advantage of the situation and the country might be lean in the Russian direction.

Georgian law enforcing bodies claim that everyone is equal in front of the law, no matter how high the position a person has. Therefore, being a former high-ranking official is not an excuse to break the law.

The current Georgiana administration wants to establish the rule of the law in the country, thus it wants to reach real democratic standards.

President Mikheil Saakashvili and his UNM team members have attempted to justify their own position through the position of their American friends. Minister of Justice of Georgia, Thea Tsulukiani, claims that Georgia wants to establish a legislative culture where there is no immunity either for the members of the ruling power, or the opposition.