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Georgia strongly responded to US visa sanctions over foreign agents law

Georgia strongly responded to US visa sanctions over foreign agents law Georgia's ruling party has reacted to US sanctions over the foreign agents law (photo: Getty Images)

The ruling party in Georgia has accused the US of pursuing a policy of threats and blackmail. This comes after Washington announced new visa restrictions due to a bill on foreign agents, reports Reuters.

The ruling party, Georgian Dream, stated that the visa restrictions were nothing more than a crude attempt to limit the independence and sovereignty of Georgia.

"No blackmail whatsoever can force us to go against our country," the political force said in a statement.

The head of the parliamentary faction of the ruling bloc called the US move comical and one that threatens to limit Georgia's independence.

"The country's independence is not for sale for any visas," said Mamuka Mdinaradze.

Georgian law on foreign agents and the world's reaction

In mid-May, the Georgian parliament, dominated by the pro-Russian ruling party Georgian Dream, approved in its entirety the draft law On the Transparency of Foreign Influence. The document requires organizations receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad to register with the Ministry of Justice as foreign agents, similar to a law in Russia.

The process of adopting the draft law was accompanied by unprecedented protests in the center of Tbilisi.

President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili vetoed the draft law. It will return to parliament, and if deputies pass it again, the document will automatically come into force.

The Georgian opposition has expressed concern about the new law, believing that it will allow the government to pressure political competitors, particularly ahead of parliamentary elections.

Western countries strongly criticized the law on foreign agents. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new policy of visa restrictions for individuals responsible for undermining democracy in Georgia or complicit in it, as well as for their family members.

Germany and France have expressed deep concern about the path chosen by Georgia. The European Union called on Tbilisi to withdraw the draft law, stating that this move would set back the country's ambitions to join the bloc.

Additionally, the EU may cancel visa-free travel for Georgia due to the controversial law.