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Russia supports UNM member

By Messenger Staff
Monday, July 4
Members of the delegation of Russia who are attending the 25th session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE PA) in Tbilisi, say they will support the candidacy of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition politician Gigi Tsereteli as the President of the OSCE PA.

The European People’s Party (EPP) raised Tsereteli’s candidacy for the position, as the term of incumbent Finnish official Ilkka Kanerva expires this summer.

Explaining their reasons behind their support, the Russian delegation said Tsreteli is a “constructive politician”.

Tsereteli said “he was surprised” by the statement of the Russian delegates, but said his election as the OSCE PA President was in Georgia's interest, and he would not be rebuff the Russian endorsement.

Meanwhile, the ruling Georgian Dream lawmakers might not support Tsereteli’s candidacy.

A member of the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party, Eka Beselia, said the UNM was only engaged with damaging Georgia’s image on the international arena.

“Georgian authorities should have adequate positions and should not damage the country's reputation,” Tsereteli said in response to such statements.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili believes Georgian lawmakers should be supportive of Tsereteli when the election takes place.

“Tsereteli is one of the most experienced parliamentarians and is oriented towards achieving a consensus on the basis of common interests,” Margvelashvili said.

“I believe that he will be a valuable figure for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly,” the President added.

Analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze said he wasn’t surprised with the Russian statements as the UNM always opposed and abused Russia verbally, but in reality, in action, the previous UNM authorities did a range of activities in service of Russia.

Analyst Armaz Akhvlediani, who previously represented the ruling Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia party, said the statements of the Russian delegates might constitute a further attempt to rebrand the country as an international peace-maker, despite its continued support of Georgia's breakaway regions.