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Zakharova Slams U.S. Threat To Reconsider Relations with Georgia

The U.S. White House is threatening the national government of Georgia for its sovereign right to pass legislation calling for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive at least 20% of their funds from foreign countries to register as foreign agents. The law does not ban the NGOs, but simply registering the fact that at least one-fifth of their funds are from foreign sources, an obvious fact since the U.S. and European Union countries are the biggest contributors to such organizations. Moreover many countries, including the United States, have similar laws. Georgia’s law went through three readings and on May 14 democratically elected Parliament of Georgia overwhelmingly passed it.

Nonetheless the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre issued the following threat to Tbilisi, telling media: “We’re deeply troubled by Georgia’s Kremlin-style ‘foreign agents’ legislation, which just passed … parliament. And we expect the president to veto it. …

While, it is unclear whether parliament will try to override a potential veto, we have been outspoken about our concerns with the legislation, which runs counter to democratic values and would move Georgia further away from the values of the European Union and, let’s not forget, also NATO. … We will see what the parliament does. But if this legislation passes, it will compel us to fundamentally reassess our relationship with Georgia.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed the statement telling Radio Sputnik, “This is an open threat,” according to TASS. “Here they say it straight away: ‘Don’t pass this law.’ And most importantly—why? I think everyone already understands why there is such hysteria in the West. Because then it will be seen what they are financing and how they are destroying the sovereignty of this or that state,” Zakharova went on.

She further said that “internal processes in a sovereign state are a purely personal matter of that country, of the people. Let’s assume that we will leave it to the people of this country to discuss internal processes in Georgia. But this is not even a reaction, this is absolute, 100% interference of other countries in the internal politics of the sovereign, independent state of Georgia.”

Zakharova lit into the very unelected EU Commission in Brussels: “I will remind you that for several months the West has been scaring, intimidating, blackmailing, whipping the sovereign state of Georgia about what it should or should not do within the framework of its own legislation. Just yesterday, the European Commission [said] that ‘Georgia’s adoption of the foreign agents law will be an obstacle to its EU aspirations.’”

On a post to her Telegram channel, Zakharova also compared the much stricter foreign agent registration laws in the U.S., Australia, Britain, France and the European Union.

The EU had failed to issue a joint statement condemning the legislation due to objections from Hungary and Slovakia, which stated that they “did not think it is right for the EU to interfere in the domestic politics of a third country.” On May 10, foreign ministers from Germany, France, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland and Sweden signed a letter saying: “Georgia’s government—to our deep regret—seems to be on the path of jeopardizing the opportunity to advance the country’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration.”