US Congressmen Urge Pompeo to Respond to Concerns about Governance Issues in Georgia

US Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Cornyn (R-Texas), along with Reps. Jodey C. Arrington (R-Texas) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), yesterday sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin requesting a briefing in response to concerns about governance issues in Georgia, specifically "Georgian illicit financial ties to America's rivals and enemies, including ties with Iran, that threaten US national security and business interests."

"We write to express our concern about deteriorating good governance and potential illicit financial activities in Georgia. [...] Over the last year, foreign direct investment into Georgia decreased by nearly 50%-while taxes and bureaucratic barriers have increased for Western businesses. [...] As the legitimate business has been pushed out, illicit trade has taken its place. Georgian businesses and the Georgian financial system have for years been notorious among U.S. sanctions officials as vehicles for circumventing American sanctions on Iran."

“The current Government of Georgia led by the Georgian Dream party is implicated in efforts to crowd out legitimate American businesses, which have invested in Georgia's economy and future.

"Any such activities are motivated by geopolitical considerations, including reported ties between Bidzina Ivanishvili, chairman of the Georgian Dream party, and the Russian government.

"Activities related to Black Sea ports in Georgia endanger critical American national security interests, including The deliberate exclusion of American companies from port construction aimed at insulating Georgia from reliance on Russia; Deficiencies in enforcing American sanctions against Iran, especially and specifically in the context of port activities”, reads the letter.

The letter can be read here

By Ana Dumbadze 

16 May 2020 12:10