June 19
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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has announced a new visa restriction policy for Georgian officials who have passed the “foreign influence” law which has sparked mass protests in the country, VOA reports.

Blinken noted in a statement that over the past few months, the ruling Georgian Dream party has developed and passed the aforesaid law that will "stifle the exercise of freedoms of association and expression, stigmatize organizations that serve the citizens of Georgia, and impede independent media organizations."

"As Georgian citizens have voiced opposition to the law, we have seen clear indications of a campaign of intimidation and the use of violence to suppress peaceful dissent," Blinken said.

According to him, “both the “national security law” and the repressive tactics used to quell legitimate dissent undermine Georgia’s democracy and the fundamental freedoms to which the Georgian people are entitled and run contrary to Georgia’s long-stated goal – reflected in its constitution — of Euro-Atlantic integration and strategic partnership with the United States.”

In response to these actions, the US Department of State is “implementing a new visa restriction policy for Georgia that will apply to individuals who are responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Georgia, as well as their family members.”

As Blinken concluded, “anyone who undermines democratic processes or institutions in Georgia —including in the lead-up to, during, and following Georgia’s October 2024 elections — may be found ineligible for U.S. visas under this policy and precluded from travel to the United States.”

Blinken added that he is launching a comprehensive review of bilateral cooperation between the US and Georgia.

"It remains our hope that Georgia’s leaders will reconsider the draft law and take steps to move forward with their nation’s democratic and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. As we review the relationship between our two countries, we will take into account Georgia’s actions in deciding our own," concluded the US Secretary of State.

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