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Ned Price: Washington Concerned About 'Foreign Agents' Bill

By Liza Mchedlidze
Monday, March 6, 2023
According to the Spokesperson for the United States Department Ned Price, Washington is concerned about the "foreign agents" bill.

Ned Price told reporters that whoever votes for this bill will be responsible for potentially jeopardizing Georgia's Euro-Atlantic future.

"We have talked about this law several times over the past few days and expressed our consistent concerns. The law is first going through procedures in the system of Georgia. Nevertheless, we remain deeply concerned by the proposed Foreign Agent Act.

Namely, because it will stigmatize and silence those independent voices and citizens of Georgia who are trying to build a better country for their fellow citizens and society. We are deeply concerned about the potential consequences of this law on freedom of speech and democracy in Georgia.

Our opinion is simple. We noted this publicly and privately. Anyone who votes for this bill will be responsible for potentially jeopardizing Georgia's Euro-Atlantic future.

Such a law does not correspond to the aspiration that Georgian citizens have been expressing for decades. It does not correspond to the future they envisioned, and in which we, the United States, aim to be Georgia's partners and help them achieve this future.

It is not only the USA that expresses concern, but also several partner countries of Georgia, the European Union, and the United Nations. The Georgian civil sector has also published a strong statement in which they express their concern regarding this draft law." said Ned Price.

According to him, there was a lot of propaganda about this law and he spoke about the differences of American law FARA and Russian law, which has become a subject of speculation:

"You mentioned one example that is not true. I mean the idea that this law is based on the US "Foreign Agent Registration Act", FARA. Our law requires people who are agents of a foreign country to register. Our law does not affect the work of non-governmental organizations or their sources of funding.

We can provide you with more information regarding US law, but we will tell you that US law is very narrow and only applies to agents of foreign countries. This is very different and that's why we are very concerned", said Ned Price in response to the journalist's question.

Price said that the adoption of this law will be of great concern to the US, although it is still a draft and now it is important to clearly state the position of the international community.

"The US has a very clear position. We want no one to doubt the concerns we have expressed, which have been expressed by the European Union, the United Nations and several countries around the world. Perhaps the most important concern that the Georgian government needs to hear comes from the civil society in its own country, from the citizens of Georgia. That is exactly what we are focusing on.

Obviously, the adoption and implementation of this law will be of great concern to us. We're not going to cross that bridge. At this stage, this law is the first draft, which is being considered by the legislators of Georgia. That's why we think that the most important thing we can do at this stage is to state our position and that of the international community without any doubt," said Ned Price.