Tough love from Ashton after Tbilisi trip

Nov. 26, 2012 at 10:54 AM
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TBILISI, Georgia, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Leaders in Georgia are called on to honor to spirit of European democracy by ensuring there's no sense of selective just there, a visiting European leader said.

Lawmakers in Tbilisi have supported a list of Cabinet officials laid out by Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili. His slate beat the United National Movement of President Mikheil Saakashvili in early October. Saakashvili was criticized for going to war with Russia in 2008 over the disputed territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and for cutting diplomatic ties to Moscow.

Catherine Ashton, the top foreign policy official for the European Union, said following her visit to Tbilisi that she was upbeat following the country's first democratic transfer of power since independence from the former Soviet Union.

She added Europe is committed to ensuring Georgia's territorial integrity.

"I expressed the EU's support for Prime Minister Ivanishvili's government as it explores ways of engaging with Georgia's breakaway regions," she said in a statement.

Many of the ministers named by Ivanishvili were from the administration of former President Eduard Shevardnadze, ousted in the country's Rose Revolution in 2004.

Ashton said there's no place for political retribution or selective justice in the country.

"I stressed that the European Union calls on all sides in Georgian politics to uphold European values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law," she said.

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