Monday, June 17, 2024

US imposes restrictions on visas for Georgia due to passing of ‘foreign agent’ bill

US Imposes Visa Restrictions and Reviews Relations with Georgia Over Controversial “Foreign Agent” Bill

The United States has announced visa restrictions and a review of relations with Georgia in response to a controversial “foreign agent” bill that has caused widespread protests in the country. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the restrictions would target individuals who are undermining democracy in Georgia, as well as their family members.

The bill, passed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, requires NGOs and media outlets with a significant amount of funding from outside Georgia to register as entities “pursuing the interests of a foreign power.” Critics have likened the legislation to Russian laws used to suppress dissent, and thousands of protesters clashed with police following its passage.

The US has called on Georgia to reconsider the bill, warning that it could impact the country’s efforts to join the EU and establish relations with NATO. President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has also criticized the legislation, stating that it poses a significant obstacle to Georgia’s European aspirations.

Despite Georgia’s President Salome Zourabichvili vetoing the bill due to constitutional concerns, the ruling party is expected to override the veto in an upcoming vote. Proponents of the legislation argue that it is necessary to promote transparency and protect the country’s sovereignty.

As the situation continues to unfold, the implementation of the bill and its impact on Georgia’s democratic values and international relations remain in the spotlight.

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