Blinken warns of US action over Georgia 'foreign influence' law

Blinken warns of US action over Georgia ‘foreign influence’ law

/ 03:23 PM May 23, 2024

Blinken warns of US action over Georgia 'foreign influence' law

A protestor waves a giant Georgian flag during demonstrations against the “foreign influence” law, outside the Georgian Parliament in Tbilisi, on May 18, 2024. Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Wednesday that the United States plans action after Georgia pushed forward a law against a Russian-style “foreign influence” law that triggered mass protests.

“We’re very concerned about the foreign agents law that was passed. I think it’s right out of Moscow’s playbook, unfortunately,” Blinken told a congressional hearing.


“I think it clearly counters the desire of the overwhelming majority of Georgians to move towards the EU and the EU integration,” he said.


READ: Georgia president vetoes controversial ‘foreign influence’ law

“So we are looking very hard at what we can do in response to that and I anticipate we will take actions.”

Blinken did not preview actions. He noted that the European Union was looking at the impact on Georgia’s efforts to join the bloc.

The bill requires NGOs and media outlets that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad to register as bodies “pursuing the interests of a foreign power.”

READ: Tens of thousands rally in Tbilisi against ‘foreign influence’ bill

Georgian lawmakers passed the law week despite major protests, with critics saying the move would silence opposition groups and shift the former Soviet republic away from a pro-Western course back toward Russia.


The ruling Georgian Dream party insists it is committed to joining the EU and was acting to increase transparency on NGO funding.

President Salome Zurabishvili on Saturday vetoed the law but lawmakers have the votes to override her.

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TAGS: Antony Blinken, Georgia

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