Recent events have damaged Georgia’s reputation as “a champion of democratic reforms in the region,” Matyas Eorsi, a rapporteur from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), said on November 10 in Tbilisi.
Eorsi, a Hungarian lawmaker, and his PACE colleague, Kastriot Islami, a lawmaker from Albania, arrived in Georgia on November 9, after President Saakashvili imposed a state of emergency, restricted the media and closed down two television stations, Imedi and Kavkasia.
Eorsi recalled his previous visit to Georgia in September. “You remember how enthusiastic we were [then] about [the] progress Georgia had achieved,” he said.
“Contrary to what we saw in mid-September, now we see that the country has been upset by events which we believe have damaged Georgia’s reputation as a champion of democratic reforms in the region,” Eorsi said at a news conference in Tbilisi. “I have been visiting Georgia since '92 and every the time I come to Georgia I start to say how happy I am to be back in Georgia. This is not the case today.”
“Police violence against peaceful demonstrations, shutting down private broadcasting stations and clamping down information dissemination is unacceptable in any circumstances in a democratic system,” he said. “We believe that it is [in the] interest of the whole of Georgia to lift the state of emergency in the closest time possible.”
The PACE co-rapporteurs have urged both the authorities and opposition to immediately resume talks and find a compromise on all disputed issues.