Concerns over Belarus-Georgia deal

The agreement, which entered into force in the depths of the summer, could have gone unnoticed. It is now at the heart of a scandal in Georgia, and could endanger the lives of Belarusian exiles who have sought refuge in the country to flee the repression of the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. A cooperation agreement between the Georgian security services and the KGB, the Belarusian secret service, has been in effect since 1er August. He expects the two countries to exchange information “On terrorism, extremist and separatist organizations, and specific individuals who prepare terrorist actions or other actions threatening the security of States”. The document was signed in 2016, but one of the clauses states that it comes into effect on the first day of the month following the exchange of official diplomatic notes, implying that this exchange took place in July.

While cooperation between states in crime prevention is commonplace, the emergence of such an agreement at a time when the Belarusian regime is waging a frantic crackdown on its opponents has caused amazement in Georgia and internationally. “We are horrified, the Georgian opposition party Droa was indignant. This legitimizes the terrible and illegitimate Lukashenko regime, responsible for thousands of deaths, but it also endangers the lives of Belarusians here ”.

Read also our editorial of August 7, 2021: The Belarusian regime, shame of Europe

In the European Parliament, German MEP Viola von Cramon (Environmentalist) denounced cooperation “Scary”. “Why is Georgia implementing it five years later, when all the other countries in the world have given up on cooperation with Belarus? “ Stunned, Linas Linkevicius, former Lithuanian foreign minister, even believed in a ” joke “. “If this is true, it will only mean one thing: Georgia’s path to the European Union and NATO will be very cloudy ”, he said on Twitter.

The House for the Defense of Human Rights in Tbilisi (HRHT) is alarmed at the repercussions this could have on Belarusian nationals who have taken refuge in Georgia. “We don’t want them to be repressed so far, underlines Natia Tavberidze, HRHT coordinator. Arrests on the basis of trumped-up charges, persecution and harassment… This is exactly how opponents, human rights defenders or the media are attacked by the Belarusian government. “

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