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President Margvelashvili Demands Discussion of Efficient Operation of State Institutions and Protection of Citizen’s Rights and Freedoms at Government Meeting

Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia has held a press conference at the Presidential Palace and demanded to attend the Government meeting to discuss effective operation of state institutions and protection of human rights and freedoms in Georgia. He has also touched upon upcoming presidential elections and presidential campaign, the right to manufacture narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, TV company Iberia and Omega Group, and active political discussion on the Khorava Street incident.
"First of all, as the citizen of this country, President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief, I attach great importance to the Georgian Armed Forces. I found this topic alarming during the presidential campaign. Today, I would like to address those people who protect our country and uphold Georgia’s ancient traditions.
I would like to address the Georgian soldiers; your contribution to defending Georgia’s territorial integrity, strength and professionalism in protecting our citizens is colossal, regardless of the current political debates. The right to defeat the enemy on our soil, to protect the sovereignty of our country is the right on which our state is built. Your heroic deeds on the battlefield have always been and will always be appreciated. No questions will be raised over this topic! Georgian people are grateful for your self-sacrifice and dedication. These political debates should not affect you. You should be aware that citizens of Georgia, the country occupied by Russia and the target of unfair attacks, appreciate your efforts. Therefore, I do not want the current political turmoil to somehow disturb you; you are the strength and basis of our country.
As for the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, I have been repeatedly stating that I am loyal to drug users. Not only I have made political statements on this topic, but also pardoned many drug users because I do not think they should be put into prison as criminals. However, I find it absolutely unacceptable Georgia to manufacture narcotic drugs, considering the following two factors: Firstly, if Georgia manufactures drugs, we will not be able to efficiently control drug circulation and therefore more people will become victims of drug addiction. Secondly, in terms of foreign policy, Georgia is not supported and protected by partner countries because of its decision to become the country that manufactures drugs. This is a challenging decision that may lead to further complications. Georgia cannot become the country manufacturing marijuana, or other psychotropic substances. This label cannot be attached to our homeland.
Recent processes in TV Company Iberia and Omega Group are also alarming. I would like to emphasize that I do not assess, nor have I ever assessed, leaked out secret tapes. I would like to maintain this standard. However, I do assess the political reaction on these events. It is shocking that that the informal groups' allegations, meaning the intervention of criminal groups, the racketeering, or the abuse of state power, have been answered by smile. These issues are not smiling or funny. They are totally unacceptable for the Georgian society. Inadequate smile by the political party that has taken responsibility for the management of our country is not the right answer.
I would like to respond to an active political discussion on the Khorava Street incident. I cannot touch upon this topic without once again showing my support for Zaza Saralidze. Like Irina Enukidze, he protects the lives of our children. It is tragic that after ten years since the tragedy that shook the Georgian society, today, we witness the bereaved father on Rustaveli Avenue. Political debates and political assessments on this situation have become more inexplicable for the society.
I repeat, I do not comment on secret taps. I comment on political statements and political assessments that have followed this incident and the society’s concerns. There is a feeling in the society that state institutions have been weakened to the point that protection of human rights, freedoms, lawfulness and property rights are threatened. In my view, we need to adequately assess the situation and take adequate measures. Otherwise, the upcoming elections will not be the step taken to further deepen Georgian democracy.
Therefore, we should congregate with the Government bodies and the Government of Georgia to discuss the appropriate measures to be taken. I use my constitutional right to address the Georgian Government, the Prime Minister of Georgia, to convene the Government meeting, where we will discuss and analyze these issues, i.e. effective functioning of state institutions and protection of citizens' rights and freedoms. I hope that this meeting will be beneficial for the Georgian state, society and democracy,” President Margvelashvili said.
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