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US warns Georgia’s ‘Kremlin-style’ law will harm ties

White House says aware of case of US soldier detained in Russia
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The United States warned Georgia Tuesday it will “fundamentally reassess” ties with Tbilisi if it does not withdraw a “Kremlin-style” law barring so-called foreign influence.

The White House said it was “deeply troubled” as protesters clashed with riot police after Georgia’s parliament adopted a measure that threatens to cast Tbilisi out of the West’s orbit.

“We’re deeply troubled by Georgia’s Kremlin-style foreign agents legislation,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a briefing.

“If this legislation passes, it will compel us to fundamentally reassess our relationship with Georgia,” she added.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, who is at loggerheads with the government, has vowed to veto the law, though the ruling Georgian Dream party has enough lawmakers in parliament to override her veto.

The measure would brand overseas-funded NGOs in Georgia as groups under “foreign influence”.

Critics say it mirrors repressive Russian legislation used to silence dissent, in a symbol of the ex-Soviet republic’s drift closer to Russia’s orbit over recent years.

Washington has repeatedly warned against the legislation, with the top US diplomat for Europe, Jim O’Brien, visiting Georgia this week.

The US State Department said Georgia still had time to “change course”.

“It’s our point of view that the Georgian government needs to change course from the one that it’s on,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

Patel pointed to polling showing that more than 80 percent of Georgians favored joining the European Union, a goal backed by the United States.

“We also know that the Georgian government has said it wants to join the EU and have a relationship with transatlantic organizations such as NATO,” Patel said.

“Things like this legislation, they are inconsistent with that stated goal,” he said.

“We value our relationship and partnership we have with Georgia, one that has existed for more than 30 years, and we would like to continue to deepen that collaboration, and there is still time to work collaboratively,” Patel added.

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AFP

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.







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