“I demand the withdrawal of the draft foreign influence law.”

“I demand the withdrawal of the draft foreign influence law.”

Gocha Javakhishvili, Georgia's ambassador to France, announced his resignation on Thursday, May 9 over the return to parliament of the controversial “foreign influence” bill, against which thousands of Georgians have been demonstrating for nearly a month. He is the first Georgian official of this level to leave his post in protest. In an interview with worldThe 57-year-old diplomat, who has never been involved in any political party, says he moved to defend his party ” honor “ He calls on his government to withdraw this draft law, modeled on the Russian law that aims to silence civil society and independent media and threatens Georgia's European integration.

Why did you decide to resign?

It is a matter of principle and honor. I demand the withdrawal of this bill. I don't want to get into political arguments or win points with the opposition – I am a government employee and have no preference for any political party. I am proud of the dynamism of Georgian civil society. Calling it a “foreign agent” is simplistic, because it has a vital role in democracy.

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I had already expressed my disagreement when the text was first presented to Parliament in March 2023. Faced with protests from residents, the government withdrew it. With the return of the bill, I found myself in a very uncomfortable position, especially in the face of my interlocutors at the Elysée and the Pier d'Orsay, to whom I promised that I would abandon it and that we would never return there. Moreover, I would have a hard time finding arguments to explain why he came back today. This situation no longer allows me to carry the European message to my country. I was afraid of being a hypocrite, so I couldn't imagine continuing with my duties.

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She wrote a letter of resignation to the State Department on April 17 [quand le projet de loi a été adopté en première lecture]. But as I am appointed by the president [Salomé Zourabichvili]And she must sign it. This should happen very soon. Perhaps my departure will serve as a pause for those who support the passage of this law.

Do you know if other Georgian representatives are planning to resign as well?

I haven't spoken to my colleagues, but most of them are very pro-European. I do not rule out that my example will be followed, but that was not my goal. Everyone will do according to their conscience.

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