Lithuanian Parliamentary Delegation To Arrive In Georgia Soon Amid Political Crisis - UNM

Lithuanian Parliamentary Delegation to Arrive in Georgia Soon Amid Political Crisis - UNM

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 18th February, 2021) A parliamentary delegation from Lithuania will arrive in Georgia in the next few days to play a "positive role" in resolving a political crisis in the South Caucasus country, Salome Samadashvili, a member of the opposition United National Movement (UNM) party, said on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announced his resignation, citing disagreement with his team on the case of UNM chair Nika Melia, who was stripped of his parliamentary immunity this week after a Tbilisi court ruled to remand Melia into custody. In connection with Gakharia's resignation, the Internal Affairs Ministry temporarily suspended the planned detention of Melia.

Melia is currently staying at the UNM headquarters in Tbilisi. Party members are celebrating the prime minister's resignation and suspension of the detention procedure. Lithuanian Ambassador to Georgia Andrius Kalindra arrived at the headquarters of the UNM to meet with opposition members.

"Lithuania has taken on the role of Georgia's informal lobbyist in the European Union. Therefore, we [with Kalindra] talked to them not only about their [Lithuanian] parliamentary delegation coming in the next few days [in Georgia] to meet with the opposition and the political spectrum in general and play a positive role in [resolving] the political crisis, but also about EU policy [on Georgia] in general. [We talked about] what should be done to get the country out of this very difficult political crisis," Salome Samadashvili told Rustavi 2 broadcaster.

Moreover, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry voiced concerns about ongoing developments in Georgia and Melia's possible arrest.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania is concerned about the recent political situation in Georgia. Parliament's decision to waive the legal immunity of Nika Melia, the leader of the main opposition party, the United National Movement, and the possible arrest of the politician reduces the possibility of dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition, raising questions about selective justice and the rule of law in the country," the ministry said.

The Baltic country also called against "further escalation of the situation."

Meanwhile, Gakharia said hours after his announcing his resignation that he left his post to avoid confrontation between the government and the opposition within Georgia.

"I believe that confrontation and rivalry within the country endanger the future of Georgia's democratic & economic development. Therefore, I have announced my resignation in the hope to reduce polarization & deescalate the situation," Gakharia tweeted.

Melia was briefly arrested for leading riots and anti-Russian protests back in June 2019 to be later released on 30,000 Georgian lari ($9,063) bail. He was obligated to wear a monitoring bracelet but removed it publicly during protests that erupted in November 2020 following the general election, which the Georgian opposition did not recognize. This prompted the court to revise the conditions of Melia's release and impose a new bail, totaling 40,000 lari.