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Prime Minister of Georgia Criticizes US Visa Restrictions

By Liza Mchedlidze
Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze, criticized the United States for imposing visa restrictions without naming the individuals affected, calling the action insulting and unbefitting a partner nation. He stated that no Georgian MPs have been notified of any restrictions, deeming the opposition's reaction exaggerated.

Kobakhidze emphasized that such decisions harm Georgian-American relations but have no practical impact. He praised the current US ambassador's efforts to improve relations and expressed hope for future cooperation. Kobakhidze also mentioned previous visa restrictions on judges, asserting they were imposed without evidence and only damaged America's reputation.

"The United States of America has imposed so-called visa restrictions; they don't call them sanctions, they are visa restrictions. In reality, these visa restrictions were imposed without the names being made public, and what's more, we've checked - to date, not a single MP has been notified of the visa restrictions. Therefore, the hype created by the opposition is completely exaggerated. The very decision that was voiced is insulting to the Georgian state and Georgian society because that's not how you talk to a partner country. As far as the practical burden of this decision is concerned, the practical burden is actually zero. When imposing visa restrictions without naming names, the only effect it can have is to insult another state. This does not correspond to the spirit of partnership, although everything must be done on our side to strengthen partnership relations in the future. This is our wish.

I would like to once again express my respect for the current ambassador, whose activities are qualitatively different from those of the previous ambassador. Accordingly, we have a reason for optimism, and I hope that these relations will move from the current wrong tracks to the right tracks. During his time, the former ambassador spoiled Georgian-American relations so much that it was theoretically impossible to spoil them more than that. The previous ambassador caused maximum damage to Georgian-American relations.

It has no practical significance. You remember that at one time such visa restrictions were imposed on judges, although this did not affect the work of the court in any way. It did not limit the independence of the court. America's reputation was affected. When you impose visa restrictions without any facts and evidence, it certainly affects the reputation of your country. The American side imposed visa restrictions on judges without any facts or evidence," said the Prime Minister.