Tbilisi City Hall building on Freedom Square in the center of the Georgian capital lit up in colors of the Ukrainian flag, December 11. Photo: Eana Korbezashvili/Civil.ge
The Georgian Parliament adopted on December 11 a statement on developments in Ukraine, which expresses “deep concern” over use of force against peaceful demonstrators and says that “Russia, or any other country, has no right to interfere” in Eastern Partnership states’ European integration process.
The statement, which was drafted by GD parliamentary majority group, was passed with 68 votes; UNM lawmakers were not present at the time of the vote as they staged a walkout in protest against a scuffle that erupted in the chamber earlier on December 11.
Consultations on the text of statement were ongoing between GD and UNM lawmakers prior to the vote. UNM MPs were not happy with the text, saying that its wording was not strong and straightforward enough in respect of Russia’s role.
It was the second attempt by the Parliament to adopt a statement on developments in Ukraine. The first attempt two weeks ago failed as GD lawmakers voted down UNM-proposed text, which was expressing “concern over political and economic pressure and blackmail exerted by the Russian Federation against the Ukrainian authorities” aimed at forcing the latter to reject signing of the Association Agreement with the EU. The text, which was proposed by UNM two weeks ago, was also condemning “doctrine of Russia’s sphere of influence”
GD MP Victor Dolidze, who chairs parliamentary committee on European integration and who was involved in drafting of the text, said on December 11 that UNM’s rejection to join the statement was “regrettable and surprising.”
“Russia’s factor is explicitly stressed in the statement; it clearly states that neither Russia nor any other country has the right to meddle into the process,” MP Dolidze said.
But senior lawmaker from UNM, Giorgi Gabashvili, said that the text was failing to “explicitly state that Russia is a problem.”
“So we can’t be part of that... I do not think that the Georgian Parliament should adopt a statement from a position of being scared and with its head bowed [before Russia],” MP Gabashvili said. “There is no other country but Russia and [it’s President Vladimir] Putin, which hinders Ukraine’s European path and it is very regrettable if the Georgian Parliament fails to explicitly state it.”
Participants of a rally in solidarity to pro-Europe protests in Kiev march towards the Tbilisi City Hall, lit up in colors of the Ukrainian national flag, on the Freedom Square, December 11. Photo: InterPressNews
Text of Statement
The statement adopted by the Parliament on December 11 reads: “Expressing full solidarity to the Ukrainian people, which fights for the freedom of choice, the Parliament of Georgia expresses deep concern over the recent developments and use of force against peaceful citizens.”
“The Parliament of Georgia supports the will of the Ukrainian people to become a full-fledged member of the European and Euro-Atlantic family and believes that despite the existing problems, both Georgia and Ukraine will take a dignified place in the international democratic community.”
“The Parliament of Georgia welcomes the efforts by the international community and democratic world aimed at supporting Eastern Partnership countries and protecting their sovereignty and declares that in the process of European integration these countries should have the freedom in making an inviolable choice and Russia, or any other country, has no right to interfere in this process.”
“The Parliament of Georgia also welcomes the efforts by the European Union and Ukraine to resume negotiations between the sides on signing the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the purpose to timely resolve problems in this respect.”
“We believe that Ukraine’s political leaders will find a dignified, peaceful solution, which will be in benefit of the people,” Georgian Parliament’s statement says.
EuroMaidan Solidarity Rally in Tbilisi
Participants of a rally in solidarity to pro-Europe protests in Kiev march on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi center, December 11. Photo: InterPressNews
Meanwhile in Tbilisi, few hundred people rallied on December 11 in solidarity to demonstrators at Independence Square in Kiev, who are protesting against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych for more than two weeks after the authorities suspended preparation for signing of the Association Agreement with the EU.
Participants of the rally in Tbilisi marched down the capital city’s main thoroughfare, Rustaveli Avenue, and gathered outside the Tbilisi City Hall, which was lit up in colors of the Ukrainian flag, organized by the Tbilisi municipality. Tbilisi Mayor, Gigi Ugulava, and some other UNM party representatives made speeches at the rally; among them was UNM MP Giorgi Baramidze, who earlier on December 11 was in the center of a scuffle in the Parliament in Kutaisi.
Ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili posted on his Facebook page on December 11 that he had met members of U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives to brief them about Ukraine, which Saakashvili visited last week, when he addressed pro-Europe protesters in Kiev on December 7; Saakashvili, who has not been in Georgia since mid-November, formally remains chairman of the UNM party.