NATO-Georgia

Rasmussen: we follow recent arrests with great concern

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Photo: denesen.mk

NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on 27 June Georgia cannot afford "even the perception" of selective justice. Speaking at a briefing with the Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili Rasmussen said NATO has been watching arrests of former government officials in Georgia with "great concern." NATO Secretary General said "I have in my conversations with representatives of the government stressed that we expect Georgian authorities and Georgian courts to fully respect the fundamental principles of rule of law and ensure due process."

Rasmussen pointed out that the Alliance is not going to interfere with Georgia's judicial processes, however, he added that it is "crucial" to avoid even the perception that the judicial processes are politically motivated. "The government has assured me that such prosecutions will live up to respect for the rule of law, people will be ensured due process, the processes will be fully transparent and we would expect Georgian authorities and Georgian courts to live up to those basic principles," NATO Secretary General said.

Speaking at the National Library to a group of students, Rasmussen congratulated Georgia's Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili with peaceful transfer of power, and stressed President Mikheil Saakashvili's contribution in the transition. "Later in this year, President Saakashvili will step down. And when he does, he, his successor, and the Prime Minister will be all remembered as builders of democracy," Rasmussen said.

NATO Secretary General told students that the Georgian government managed to eliminate corruption and crime in the country. Georgia was considered as one of the most corrupt states before the Rose Revolution, Rasmussen said, adding that currently Georgia ranks higher than several EU states in similar ratings. NATO Secretary General said Tbilisi has become one of the safest cities in Europe as crime rates have dropped significantly.

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