Foreign diplomats urge authorities, opposition in Georgia to remain calm, avoid violence

  • Foreign diplomats released statements today, urging authorities, opposition in Georgia to remain calm, avoid violence. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 18 Feb 2021 - 17:52, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released a statement today, saying the ministry is concerned by the political situation in Georgia and reduced chance of dialogue, encouraging the Georgian authorities and opposition to refrain from actions jeopardising the country's future prospects.

Parliament's decision to waive the legal immunity of Nika Melia and the possible arrest of the politician reduces the possibility of dialogue =.[_[between the ruling party and the opposition, raising questions about selective justice and the rule of law in the country. We regret that Georgia’s political leaders have so far not taken every opportunity to resolve their differences over last autumn's parliamentary elections", reads the statement.

The Lithuanian MFA encourages Georgian authorities and the opposition to refrain from actions that might lead to 'further stalemate and division of society', also to refrain from possible use of force against citizens. 

We call on our partners in Georgia to step away from the red lines, take advantage of the opportunity to de-escalate the situation and look for ways to normalise the situation, as well as to return to constructive political dialogue,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis.

French Ambassador to Georgia Diego Colas has also posted on his Twitter account:

US Embassy to Georgia posted on Facebook that 'we urge all involved to remain calm and avoid violence'

The current dangerous situation following the Melia ruling stems from decades-long problems with the electoral system and the judicial system. It is imperative the authorities and opposition exercise maximum restraint this morning. The way to address the important issues at stake is through peaceful negotiation", reads the statement.

Former President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves posted on his twitter account 'don't go this route, Sakartvelo... You deserve so much better than this, dear Sakartvelo'.

Melia is charged with incitement to violence during the June protests in Tbilisi back in 2019 which were sparked by the presence of Russian MPs in the Georgian parliament. 

He was released on 30,000 GEL bail on June 27, 2020. However, Melia violated the conditions of his bail by publicly removing his surveillance bracelet and 40,000 GEL was added to his bail in November 2020. 

The UNM chair has refused to pay the 40,000 GEL bail (within 50 days of sentencing) and on February 5, 2021 the Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office warned him of the possibility of his bail conditions being reversed to detention. 

Yesterday Tbilisi City Court ruled that Melia be remanded into custody for failure to post bail, per the request of the country’s Prosecutor’s Office.

This morning Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announced his resignation, saying that the step is connected with the upcoming arrest of Melia.