TBILISI, DFWatch – Transparency International Georgia asks the country’s foreign ministry not to let the diplomatic service be used for political means.
According to information provided by TI, the Georgian embassy in the United States is sending out e-mails of a political character to influential experts and researchers, trying to discredit Bidzina Ivanishvili and his coalition Georgian Dream. TI argues that these actions amount to misuse of state resources on behalf of the ruling party.
“The use of the diplomatic service to lobby and discredit domestic political opponents is unacceptable and such steps are against common practices employed by any democratic country,” the statement reads.
Two American researchers informed TI about the political messages. One of them showed TI electronic letters sent by the second secretary at the Georgian embassy in the US, Khatuna Okroshidze.
The first letter is a translation of an article published in the Georgian newspaper Asaval-Dasavali, in which former U.S. ambassador to Georgia, John Bass, is mentioned in a negative context, complemented by information that the newspaper is xenophobic in nature and that it is Ivanishvili’s favorite media outlet.
The second letter is a collection of notes from various Georgian newspapers, pointing out the political positions of members of the party Industry Will Save Georgia, which is also member of the Georgian Dream coalition. Then there is additional information stating that the party is against Georgia’s Western aspirations, against NATO membership and advocating for a Belarusian type closed economy with Russia being the main trade and economic partner.
According to article 15 of the Georgian law about the diplomatic service, a person who is appointed to a diplomatic position should immediately cease any political activity and while having this position be politically neutral.
TI also addresses the interim commission of free and just elections to react and issue recommendations in order to avoid such incidents in the future.