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Georgian PM calls US sanctions insulting, out of line with spirit of partnership

According to Irakli Kobakhidze, it is in Georgia's interests that relations with the United States and the European Union "deepen as much as possible"

BERLIN, June 11. /TASS/. US sanctions against the Georgian leadership are insulting and do not conform to the spirit of partnership between the two countries, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze said.

"I would like to note once again that the sanctions are absurd. That’s number one. Though along with being absurd, the sanctions are insulting to our country and our people. This is also out of line with the spirit of partnership. Accordingly, I hope that eventually everything will be reconsidered," Kobakhidze told Georgian journalists on the margins of the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin.

According to Kobakhidze, it is in Georgia's interests that relations with the United States and the European Union "deepen as much as possible." He also expects to see steps to meet from both American and European partners. "This would be the right attitude towards the Georgian people and state," the prime minister added, urging Western partners to "pragmatic steps."

On May 14, the Georgian Parliament passed the law On the Transparency of Foreign Influence in the third reading, thus drawing sharp criticism from the European Union coupled with threats to suspend the country’s EU integration. US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien said that the United States would impose sanctions on the Georgian government, if democracy was undermined in Georgia. President Salome Zourabichvili vetoed the law on May 18. The parliament overrode the presidential veto.

The new regulations are applicable only to media outlets and legal entities, that receive 20% or more of their financing from abroad. Such organizations will be obliged to inform the Justice Ministry about their incomes and expenditures in January every year. If not, they will be fined 25,000 Georgian lari (around $9,000). Every next month will be punished with a fine of 20,000 lari (around $7,200).

On June 6, Spokesperson for the US Department of State Matthew Miller said that the US was imposing sanctions against dozens of Georgian citizens, including members of the government, parliament and their relatives, as well as law enforcement officers in connection with the law on foreign agents.