US imposes visa restrictions and can evaluation cooperation with Georgia | EUROtoday

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The United States was imposing new visa restrictions and reviewing relations with Georgia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned Thursday, after it pushed ahead a Russian-style ‘overseas affect’ regulation that triggered mass protests.

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The new visa coverage “will apply to individuals who are responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Georgia, as well as their family members,” Blinken mentioned in a press release.

He added that Washington was additionally launching “a comprehensive review of bilateral cooperation between the United States and Georgia.”

The Georgian invoice requires NGOs and media shops that obtain greater than 20 p.c of their funding from overseas to register as our bodies “pursuing the interests of a foreign power.”

Georgian lawmakers handed the regulation final week regardless of main protests, with critics saying the transfer would silence opposition teams and shift the previous Soviet republic away from a pro-Western course again towards Russia.

The ruling Georgian Dream get together insists it’s dedicated to becoming a member of the EU and was appearing to extend transparency on NGO funding.

President Salome Zurabishvili on Saturday vetoed the regulation however lawmakers have the votes to override her.

Blinken specified that “anyone who undermines democratic processes or institutions in Georgia — including in the lead-up to, during, and following Georgia’s October 2024 elections — may be found ineligible for US visas” and precluded from US journey, together with their rapid relations.

Critics say the Georgia measure mirrors Russian laws used to stifle dissent, whereas Brussels warns it’s “incompatible” with Tbilisi’s long-standing bid for European Union membership.

Blinken mentioned it remained the US hope “that Georgia’s leaders will reconsider the draft law and take steps to move forward with their nation’s democratic and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.”

“As we review the relationship between our two countries, we will take into account Georgia’s actions in deciding our own.”

Georgia’s ruling get together has confronted widespread accusations of derailing the nation from its EU membership path and main it again in direction of the Russian orbit.

But the get together insists it’s dedicated to EU and NATO membership — that are enshrined within the nation’s structure and supported by greater than 80 p.c of the inhabitants.