TBILISI, DFWatch — An editorial comment published by the Washington Post has caused great controversy in Georgia.
“The magnate-turned-prime minister said last week that his first official visit to the United States had been postponed, which is a good thing. As long as he is imprisoning opposition leaders and seeking to monopolize power, Georgia’s new leader should not be welcome in Washington,” the editorial says.
November 28, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili responded that there will be a reacttion from the government to criticism in western print media. He said he wasn’t familiar with this letter, but says those accusations aren’t correct.
“We will find out how it happened and the letter was published. Such articles were published in Europe as well,” the PM said, adding that the president’s people are still managing to be successful in their lobbying abroad.
“Washington Post doesn’t invite us to the USA, but the American government does,” he said.
A day later, Kris Coratti of the Washington Post denied that the editorial team of the newspaper had any contact with the Georgian president recently.
Prime Minister Ivanishvili drew attention to a recent visit by the Foreign Minister to US saying that she would solve this problem. According to ministry’s press office, she met with the editors of Washington Post during her visit; however details of the meeting are unknown.
“Everyone underlines that criminal cases should be investigated, but transparency of the process is very important and I told them that it happens so in Georgia,” she said at the end of the visit.
November 30 Bidzina Ivanishvili again commented the letter in Washington Post, saying that the government won’t act based on any statement made abroad.
He said Saakashvili manages to somehow bring incorrect information abroad. The PM claims that his team discovered service of Giga Bokeria, Secretary of the Security Council, which has spent 16 million on lobbying and is kept highly secret. The Prime Minister promised to reveal this information in the near future.
“Georgian society is well informed and we will act according to law. Such articles cannot suspend and cannot interrupt the actions of law enforcement bodies,” he said.
The Secretary of the Security Council released a statement commenting the accusations by the council about spending money on lobbying the Washington Post and other media.
The statement says it makes clear that the Prime Minister doesn’t understand how the media works in the US and generally in the democratic world.
“Information about our agreements with American consolation companies, their content and money paid for the service is for a long time available for persons interested in it,” the statement appeals to expressed suspicions that the council illegally spends money for lobbying.
Security Council informs that those agreements are public and are also published on official website of US Justice department so the goals and content is public; it includes deepening strategic partnership with USA, cooperation in defense, NATO integration, building democratic state and economy; forming strong contact with executive and legislative governments, media and civil organizations of US and Georgia.