The U.S. embassy in Tbilisi said in a statement on leaked wiretapped recordings of Georgia’s ex-President and governor of Odessa region in Ukraine Mikheil Saakashvili that “it is unacceptable for anyone to advocate for violence in politics.”
“The U.S. Embassy continues to follow events in Georgia very closely. While we cannot authenticate recent intercepted conversations, we believe it is unacceptable for anyone to advocate for violence in politics. Such assertions have no place in a democratic society,” the U.S. embassy said in the “statement on the release of audio recordings by Ukrainian website”.
“We applaud statements from the Prime Minister, as well as from opposition leaders, calling for calm and restraint.”
“While these statements are important, what is needed is dialogue, and a widening, not a restricting, of the political and media space,” the U.S. embassy said.
In two leaked wiretapped recordings, involving phone conversations with Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 TV head Nika Gvaramia and one of the leaders of Georgia’s opposition UNM party Giga Bokeria, Saakashvili discusses “defending” Rustavi 2 TV through erecting barricades, calls for “going through revolutionary scenario” and speaks about the need for “physical confrontation”. Gvaramia and Bokeria have confirmed authenticity of the recordings.
Asked about these recordings, leaked onto internet on October 29, U.S. ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly, told Batumi-based Adjara TV on October 30: “I can’t really comment on it, except to say that, by all appearances, these seem to be private conversations, and I think you know an important part of responsible media is, again, accountability and transparency and [attributing] sources.”
“I cannot imagine any local media intercepting private telephone conversations and then broadcasting them. So I am not going to give any credence to any kind of conversations that do not have proper provenance, don’t have proper sourcing,” he added.