Teona Akubardia: Changing the Status Quo in the Region Increases Georgia’s Value as an Ally of the United States
Georgia, as a strategic partner of the United States, must meet two main criteria – democracy and common interests, here we are talking primarily about the course towards integration into the North Atlantic Alliance. The key point here is that it is the United States that is the guarantor of our sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is ensured, among other things, by the programs of military cooperation between the Pentagon and the Ministry of Defense of Georgia, constant military exercises, including within the framework of NATO. And of course, one should not forget about regional projects, the security of which is the most important function of Georgia.
Changes in the status quo in the South Caucasus naturally increase Georgia’s value as an ally for the United States. But the situation with democracy inside the country cannot but cause concern in Washington. Thus, security and democracy are two components necessary for Georgia’s continued successful cooperation with the United States.
It should be well understood that the United States does not support the Georgian government or any separate political force; cooperation between our countries began and continued under different governments. The United States supports Georgia, and it is in this context that today’s statement by the United States Embassy, in which special attention is paid to supporting democratic institutions in our country, should be understood. Today there is a political crisis in Georgia, and this crisis was created by the ruling party, which falsified the results of the October 31 elections. All political parties unanimously point out this, and believe that these elections were neither free nor democratic, so the way out of this situation is the release of political prisoners, changes in the electoral code, electoral administrations and early elections. I think this should be understood in the Dream.
Unfortunately, so far there are no results from the negotiations between the representatives of the authorities and the opposition. In the event that the conditions of the opposition are not accepted, none of the opposition parties will enter parliament, and Dream will have to sit in splendid isolation. But now the ball is on the side of the authorities, it is up to them to decide which way the country will go further and, accordingly, take responsibility for the grave consequences that will inevitably come if the authorities do not compromise. However, let us remember that a year ago there were large-scale actions demanding the fulfillment of the authorities’ promises to switch to a proportional election system. The authorities did not want to make any compromises, but in the end they had to do it and they signed the agreement on March 8th. Unfortunately, our authorities only understand the language of protest, therefore, the opposition will continue both protest actions (of course, in compliance with all safety standards during a pandemic), and negotiations with the authorities, informing our partners. The goal of tomorrow’s action is to show the Western media, whose representatives will be present in Georgia in connection with the visit of the US Secretary of State to Tbilisi, the attitude of the Georgian society to the situation in the country.
It is clear that the process is very complicated. but we are waiting for reciprocal steps from the authorities. Of course, it is not normal when the US ambassador is forced to bring the authorities and the opposition to the negotiating table, but let’s face it – all this is the result of the irresponsible policy of the Georgian Dream. They simply lost trust both among the population and among the country’s political spectrum. In fact, everything is simple – a country where there is no fair trial, guarantees of human rights protection, democratic elections and other freedoms has no future.
Teona Akubardia, GSAC