Shaheen and Durbin recently returned from a congressional delegation visit to Georgia in February.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released a joint statement with Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation; Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Senator Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, after Georgia’s ruling party adopted a Russian-style foreign agent law, prompting public protests.
“The Georgian people who have taken to the streets to protest this Kremlin-inspired legislation see clearly that this move taken by the Georgian Parliament would not only attack Georgia’s independent media and civil society organizations, it would represent a huge step backward for Georgian democracy and irreparably damage the country’s Euro-Atlantic future,” said the Senators. “If this legislation were to pass, the damaging consequences would lay squarely on the ruling party, who has refused to uphold its mandate to advance the economic and security aspirations Georgia’s citizens have with the West. This law will only push Georgia further away from the transatlantic community it says it wants to join. We encourage the government to reconsider advancing this troubling legislation to avoid another setback in their democratic trajectory and work to build a better future for the Georgian people. We call on the Georgian authorities to allow for its citizens to peacefully protest – a basic right that should be upheld in any democracy.”
Senator Shaheen led a congressional delegation to Georgia in June 2021 and February 2023, where she met with heads of state, members of legislature and representatives from civil society to discuss the nations’ bilateral relationships, as well as the geopolitical importance of the Black Sea region.
Senator Shaheen leads bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate that would establish a U.S. policy toward the Black Sea region. Shaheen has been very engaged on U.S. policy toward the Black Sea region for years, stemming back to her participation as an election monitor in Georgia with Senator Risch in 2012. She’s been vocal in the U.S. Senate about the urgency of prioritizing the region, which is a crucial inflection point amid Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked further invasion of Ukraine. Shaheen led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to Eastern Europe, including Georgia and Ukraine, in June 2021. As co-chair of the Senate NATO Observer Group, which she re-started with Senator Tillis (R-NC) in 2018, Shaheen has led bipartisan efforts in the Senate in support of the transatlantic Alliance and as Finland and Sweden seek accession into NATO. Last month, Shaheen traveled to Georgia again on congressional delegation visit with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin.