14 July 2024,   08:40
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The US Ambassador makes her first televised comment after registering the Bill on Transparency in the Parliament

The US Ambassador to Georgia makes her first televised comment after registering the Bill on Transparency in the Parliament.

“We are concerned that the legislation will derail Georgia from its European path and we’re also concerned that it will negatively impact the ability of local civil society organizations to do the important work that they do to help Georgian people every day. And this isn’t just a concern from the US. The EU, NATO, the European Council, the European Parliament, many, many individual countries within Europe and Parliaments, the UN, they have all also expressed serious concern about this legislation. And they’ve expressed concern that this legislation will negatively impact Georgia’s path to become a member of the EU.

The US has worked hand in hand, in partnership and in friendship, with Georgian government and Georgian civil society organizations for more than 30 years to implement USD 6 billion worth of assistance here. What does that mean? What does that friendship and assistance look like? What friends do is friends support friends to grow stronger. And that’s what we have done. Our assistance, for example, has strengthened the Georgian defense forces and strengthened and equipped the Georgian coast guard, so Georgia can defend its sovereign territory, also deter further aggression. Our assistance has built hospitals and schools, we’ve trained doctors, teachers, emergency workers. Our assistant has built independent living centers to help people with disabilities, help them live on their own and help their families. Our assistance has given small farmers loans and small business owners loans. We’ve trained young Georgians with vocational skills. We’ve done things like opening American Center, where we provide free training of English language skills, where we provide books. We’ve given 1000s of Georgians the opportunity to study and do programs in the US. This is what friends do. Friends help strengthen countries and their ability to thrive to become more economically prosperous and to defend themselves. And I’m very, very proud of the assistance the US has provided to Georgia, and of the NGOs and CSOs who’ve implemented that assistance.

So you have to ask yourself, when you have draft legislation and your western partners and friends all have said they have serious concerns with that legislation, but your occupiers have welcomed it, you have to ask whether it’s a good thing for Georgia. I want to reiterate that this is not similar to the law in the US. The US welcomes the role of our civil society organizations and how they help our country. Our law, specifically requires organizations and individuals, who lobby, who are paid to lobby on behalf of foreign governments for foreign governments interests, it requires them to register. It’s a very different law. So with that, again, I want to say that the US stands hand in hand with the people and government of Georgia and supporting Georgia’s European path”, - said Robin Dunnigan.

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