Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

The US introduces visa restrictions against Georgian officials due to the “foreign agents” law

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar May24,2024

USA introduces visa restrictions against Georgian officials due to 'foreign agents' law

Photo: Antony Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new visa restriction policy against Georgian officials who passed the Transparency of Foreign Influence bill, which sparked mass protests in the country.

As Blinken stated, over the past few months the ruling Georgian Dream party has drafted and passed a law that would “suppress the exercise of freedom of association and expression, stigmatize organizations that serve the citizens of Georgia, and impede the work of independent media,” reports “Voice of America.”

“As Georgians have expressed opposition to the law, we have seen clear signs of a campaign of intimidation and violence to suppress dissent,” Blinken said.

Both the law itself and the repressive The tactics used to suppress protest undermine Georgia's democracy and the fundamental freedoms to which the Georgian people are entitled, and are contrary to Georgia's long-stated purpose – reflected in its constitution – Euro-Atlantic cooperation and strategic partnership with the United States.

In response to these actions, the State Department is introducing a new visa restriction policy for Georgia that will apply to individuals responsible for undermining democracy, suppressing peaceful protest, and their family members.

As Blinken concluded, anyone who undermines democratic processes or institutions in Georgia – including on the eve of, during and after the elections in October 2024 — US visas and travel to the United States will be denied.

In addition, Blinken said, bilateral cooperation between the United States and Georgia may be reconsidered.

&quot ;We remain hopeful that the Georgian authorities will reconsider the bill and take steps to move forward in realizing democratic and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. As we consider the relationship between our two countries, we will take Georgia's actions into account when making our own decisions,” Blinken added.

Prepared by: Sergei Daga

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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