Blinken Urges Georgia’s Leaders To Take Country 'In Right Direction'

Blinken Urges Georgia’s Leaders To Take Country 'In Right Direction'

The top U.S. diplomat on Sunday urged Georgia’s leaders to "take the steps necessary to move Georgia forward in the right direction," TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.

"The United States will continue to strongly support the aspirations of the Georgian people for a Euro-Atlantic future," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on the occasion of Georgia's National Day.

"Throughout the 32 years of our bilateral relationship, the United States has shown unwavering commitment to Georgia’s democratic, prosperous future, and has been among the strongest supporters of Georgia’s sovereignty and integrity.  We have been proud to support efforts to strengthen Georgia’s economy, democracy, and ability to deter Russian aggression, and we reaffirm our commitment to the Georgian people and to Georgia’s future," Blinken noted.

He went on to add, "It has been an important twelve months for the people of Georgia, including Georgia’s historic achievement of European Union candidate status.  The next several months will be pivotal in seeing this opportunity become real... On this day of celebration for Georgians everywhere, I reaffirm the United States’ firm commitment to helping Georgia build the secure, prosperous European democracy its citizens overwhelmingly desire and so richly deserve."

Blinken's message came as tensions persist between the Western allies and Georgia over a law that critics say will obstruct media freedom and damage Georgia’s bid to join the European Union.

The measure,which opponents denounce as “the Russian law”, would require media and NGOs to register as “carrying out the interests of a foreign power” if they receive more than 20% of their budget from abroad.

Blinken last week announced that travel sections would be imposed on Georgian officials “who are responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Georgia” and “it remains our hope that Georgia’s leaders will reconsider the draft law and take steps to move forward with their nation’s democratic and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.”

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