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US Vice President Harris and President Biden Express Concern Over Georgian 'Foreign Agents' Law, Praise Veto Decision

By Liza Mchedlidze
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
US Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden expressed deep concerns to Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili in a recent letter. They highlighted worries about Georgia's parliament passing a 'Foreign Agents' law, fearing it could harm democracy and relationships with the US and Europe. However, they praised the President's veto decision, commending her commitment to safeguarding civil society amid growing threats.

Vice President Harris emphasized the enduring partnership between the US and Georgia, stating that since Russia's invasion in 2008, the US has remained a steadfast ally, supporting Georgia's sovereignty. According to Harris, this strong bond, built on shared values and respect, has led to significant collaboration, including joint efforts in Afghanistan and substantial aid to strengthen Georgia's infrastructure and democratic institutions.

Harris also acknowledged the Georgian people's aspirations to join the EU and NATO, recognizing their strong desire for a Euro-Atlantic future. However, she expressed concerns that the passage of the foreign agents bill could jeopardize this aspiration. The Vice President reiterated the importance of upholding democratic principles, stressing the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

"President Biden and I have been following events in Georgia with great concern. We worry about developments, such as the Georgian parliament's recent passage of the foreign agents bill, that could threaten Georgia's democracy and undermine Georgia's relationship with the United States and Europe. We applaud your recent actions to veto that anti-democratic measure and your commitment to protect civil society as it comes under threat in Georgia.

The United States has supported Georgia's democracy and Euro-Atlantic aspirations for more than three decades. Since Russia's invasion in 2008, the United States has been steadfast in our support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Our partnership is grounded in shared values, common interests, and mutual respect. We fought shoulder to shoulder in Afghanistan, and the United States is the largest supplier of foreign assistance to Georgia to help build critical infrastructure, strengthen democratic institutions, and modernize your military forces.

The Georgian people have been clear that they want a future in the European Union and NATO. They recognize that the foreign agents bill puts that future at risk, which is why they have strongly opposed it. They have every right to pursue that future, and force must not be used to prevent peaceful assembly and the exercise of the right to freedom of expression.

We appreciate your leadership and efforts to protect civil society in Georgia. These efforts will continue to be essential as the Georgian people look to you to defend democracy and champion Georgia's Euro-Atlantic future. The United States stands with you and all Georgians in pursuit of a better future," the letter reads.