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US Warns Of 'Action' Against Georgia 'Foreign Agents' Bill

23.05.2024 03:57

'We are looking very hard at what we can do in response to that, and I anticipate we will take actions,' Blinken says.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Wednesday that the US will "take action" against a contentious bill adopted last week by the former Soviet republic of Georgia's parliament, which triggered mass protests.

Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the State Department's 2025 budget request, Blinken said in response to a question that the US is "very concerned" about the "foreign agents" bill, saying it is "right out of Moscow's playbook."

"We are looking very hard at what we can do in response to that, and I anticipate we will take actions. The EU is looking at the impact on the accession process for Georgia," he said, adding that the bill counters the desire of the Georgian people to move towards the EU.

"I would anticipate that there'll be things to come because of the impact that this law may have," he added.

The bill requires organizations, including media outlets, which receive more than 20% of their funding from overseas to register with the state. It also requires them to publish annual financial reports.

The bill, which was first introduced in March 2023, was shelved after it triggered mass protests that resulted in the arrest of 66 people and the injury of more than 50 law enforcement officers but was reintroduced in parliament early last month.

Critics say the bill would undermine democracy, labelling it as a "Russian law." But members of the ruling majority argue that it would increase transparency.

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili announced Saturday that she vetoed the bill, days after the Georgian parliament passed it in its third and final reading amid protests.

However, the ruling Georgian Dream party can override the president's veto by obtaining 76 votes, after which the parliament speaker can legally sign the bill. -

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