U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, John Bass, said on March 20, that “allegations or predictions of violence” were always distressing and called on politicians not to make allegations not supported by facts available to wider audience.
Asked whether the U.S. embassy was looking into the allegations about authorities setting up paramilitary groups, voiced by Irakli Alasania, one of the leaders of Bidzina Ivanishvili-led opposition coalition, the U.S. Ambassador responded: “I am always distressed anytime there are allegations or predictions of violence related to campaigns or electoral environments.”
“I think we’ve been quite clear in stressing to all parties that violence has no place in any competitive electoral cycle in any democratic society,” Ambassador Bass continued, adding that everyone should take actions “to avoid any activities that could not contribute to that environment.”
“And I think it is also important for everyone involved in politics these days in Georgia to address these issues responsibly, which is to say… to not make allegations that cannot be supported by a set of facts that are [inaudible] available to wider audience,” Ambassador Bass said.
Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats, part of Bidzina Ivanishvili-led opposition coalition, stepped up on March 20 allegations on paramilitary groups, saying that he possessed evidence to support his claim. He refused to make details of evidence public, citing sensitivity of the matter from security point of view, but said he would submit the evidence involving “full information about places of location of the paramilitary groups, about their members, about armament and finances” to the Georgian National Security Council.
Later on March 20 Alasania met with U.S. Ambassador John Bass; no details of the meeting were available.