Georgia’s partners, including EU is watching closely developments in Georgia “against the background of rather turbulent recent history of this country regarding mass manifestations,” Peter Semneby, EU’s special representatives for South Caucasus, told journalists in Tbilisi on April 9.
He said that EU had been requested by the Georgian government to observe how the authorities and the opposition handle the rallies. EU diplomat said that he was also in close touch with opposition leaders.
“After the meetings that have been conducted with the both sides I have made the conclusion that both, the authorities and the opposition are aware of what is at stake and of the importance of making sure that this event is being handled with the necessary restraint, that it is conducted in a dignified way and that it leads forward to something constructive for this country,” Semneby said.
“What we have seen today has certainly confirmed this impression and this expectation that we had before the demonstration started.”
“What this event shows, at the same time, is that there are issues in Georgia that need to be addressed and need to be discussed in an open and transparent way and in a way that involves all Georgian society. And this obviously includes key issues as to how this country is governed, constitutional issues, constitutional checks and balances and so on,” he added.
EU diplomat also said that these rallies could be viewed as a way for the opposition “to clarifying their positions, to demonstrating what kind of support they have.”
“The conclusion of any event of this kind has to be a process that takes place not on the street but around the table of negotiations,” Semneby said. “The Georgian path should not fall into a pattern of resolving its political issues in the street but through other means. At the same time, the right to assemble and the right to freely express opinions is the key democratic right that also has to be safeguarded. It is the way of expressing political position but not the way of resolving political issues.”