At the end of a two-day official visit to Georgia, Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, congratulated the Georgian authorities for the substantial progress the country achieved on the path of democratic reforms: “Since its accession to the Council of Europe in 1999, the Georgian people demonstrated on numerous occasions their commitment to our common European values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. I was impressed by the extremely high degree of openness and readiness to co-operate with international partners demonstrated by the authorities.”
At the same time, Ms Brasseur strongly encouraged Georgian leaders to continue on this positive path and to intensify efforts aimed at strengthening state institutions: “The pace of reforms should not be slowed down, reforms of the Constitution and of the electoral law are urgently needed.” PACE President also underscored the need to complete the fundamental reforms of the judiciary, prosecutor’s office and law enforcement system: “The reform of the judiciary is all the more essential, as transparency and impartiality are the basis for the credibility of the justice system.”
Ms Brasseur assured the Georgian authorities that the Council of Europe would continue to support them in carrying out democratic reforms: “No country is perfect, and our monitoring procedure should not be perceived as a form of blaming and criticism – it is there to help identify the areas where improvements are most needed. At the same time, the biggest responsibility in the process of reforms is in the hands of national political leaders and especially parliamentarians. All political forces seem to agree that the above-mentioned reforms are necessary and that they must be conducted efficiently and swiftly. But there should also be mutually co-operation and constructive dialogue between the opposition and the majority”.
Ms Brasseur also called on Georgian decision-makers to resolutely combat all forms of hatred and intolerance, including homophobic and xenophobic violence and statements: “It is our responsibility as politicians to contribute to a peaceful climate of living-together and to avoid contributing to sowing the seeds of hatred.”
Regarding South Ossetia, Georgia, and Abkhazia, Georgia, PACE President reiterated her support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and raised concerns over the humanitarian situation in these areas. “I visited the Administrative Boundary Line and it makes me really sad to see that today new curtains are set up on our continent. I encourage all parties involved to overcome the physical and psychological barriers and to find effective means to ensure that all citizens enjoy the standards of human rights, democracy and rule of law”. She continued: “The situation of IDPs is of a particular concern. Georgian authorities have made tremendous efforts to guarantee a decent life to these people, but temporary measures are not the solution. I hope that constructive discussions on IDPs could be resumed in the framework of the Geneva talks”.
During her official visit, PACE President met the Speaker of Parliament David Usupashvili, the President of the Republic Giorgi Margvelashvili, the Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Tamar Beruchashvili, the Chairperson of the Supreme Court Nino Gvenetadze, the Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili, as well as representatives of different political groups in the Georgian Parliament and representatives of the civil society. She also visited the internally displaced persons’ settlement in Tserovani and the Administrative Boundary Line at Khurvaleti. Ms Brasseur also addressed the Georgian Parliament and gave a lecture to students of the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.