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Georgian PM says EU commissioner sought to scare him by mentioning attack on Slovak PM

Irakli Kobakhidze said he wanted to make the threat public as a precaution

TBILISI, May 23. /TASS/. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze said an EU commissioner attempted to intimidate him by bringing up the attack on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico as they discussed Georgia’s bill on foreign agents over the phone.

"Even amid the prolonged blackmail [by the West], it was stunning to hear this threat in a telephone conversation with one of the EU commissioners. As we spoke, the EU commissioner listed a whole range of measures that Western partners could take if the veto of the transparency law is overridden, and while listing these measures, he said, 'You have seen what happened to Fico, and you should be very careful,'" Kobakhidze was quoted as saying in a statement from the Georgian cabinet.

The prime minister said he wanted to make the threat public as a precaution.

The Georgian legislature passed a bill On Transparency of Foreign Influence, also known as the foreign agents bill, in the third reading on May 14. That prompted threats from the European Union to halt the country's integration into the bloc. US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James O'Brien said that the US would impose sanctions on Georgian officials if democracy was undermined in the country. President Salome Zourabichvili vetoed the law on May 18, but according to Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili, lawmakers plan to override it. Parliament will vote on the veto next week.