23.Feb .2021 10:00

How did foreign diplomats echo Nika Melia’s arrest?

How did foreign diplomats echo Nika Melia’s arrest?
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Georgian police stormed the United National Movement's headquarters (UNM) early this morning to arrest Nika Melia, chairman of the main opposition party. The law enforcers detained Melia in the UNM office.
Foreign diplomats echoed Nika Melia's arrest.
Congressman Adam Kinzinger tweeted and urged the Georgian Government to "stand down from this dramatic action."
"This is a very concerning move by the Government of Georgia. Given the tense situation, I call on the Government to stand down from this dramatic action. We are all watching," Kinzinger wrote on his Twitter.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Member of Parliament of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis has released a statement today, saying he is worried to see what's happening in Tbilisi this morning. He notes that violence is not the way to resolve political disagreements.
"I hope our Georgian friends can avoid plunging into a deeper crisis. Restraint and commitment to democracy must prevail", Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania tweeted.
British Ambassador to Georgia Mark Clayton is "shocked by the scenes at UNM headquarters this morning."
"Violence and chaos in Tbilisi are the last thing Georgia needs right now. I urge all sides to act with restraint, now and in the coming days," British Ambassador tweeted.
Lithuanian Ambassador in Georgia Andrius Kalindra tweeted that he is worried to see what's happening in Tbilisi this morning.
"Unfortunate start of the day, seeing the developments at the opposition party office in Tbilisi. Call for restraint on all sides for the sake of the future of Georgia. Violence & escalation can produce no positive outcomes", Kalindra wrote on his Twitter page.
Michael Carpenter, Managing Director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement and former U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary, also responded to Nika Melia's detention.
"Very unfortunate developments in the Republic of Georgia with the storming of the opposition party's HQ. Hoping cooler heads will prevail and the situation can still be de-escalated," Michael Carpenter wrote on Twitter.
Former Minister of Defence and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevicius tweeted that he is concerned about tensions in Georgia.
"Our friends have achieved a lot: frontrunners implementing DCFTA, one of NATO's most active partners. Would be irresponsible to waste it all. All leaders must show restraint and be guided primarily by the interests of the State", Linas Linkevicius tweeted.
Former Commanding General of United States Army Europe, Ben Hodges echoed Nika Melia's arrest on his Twitter page, noting that it is a huge step backward for Georgia.
"The only people benefitting from this are in the Kremlin and Mr. Bidzina and his closest circle of enablers. Nothing good in this for Georgians, especially young people. I hope President Biden will come out strong on this. Kremlin is watching", Ben Hodges tweeted.
"Deep concern about developments in Georgia. Storming opposition offices and arresting opposition leaders are incompatible with aspirations which Georgian Goverment claims it has. This is a critical moment for the democracy in Georgia", Marko Mihkelson, Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of Estonian Parliament Tweeted.
"That escalation was not what friends of Georgia expected when the Prime Minister stepped down. Critical moment for democracy", - Rebbeca Harms, Former Green Member of European Parliament Tweeted. 
"Extremely disturbing developments in Georgia as the opposition party Hq is stormed by policy and its leader arrested. Firm adherence to the rule of law must be a condition for closer to the E.U. cooperation and integration," - Carl Birldt, Co-Chair European Council on Foreign Relations, Tweeted. 
"The situation in Georgia is very serious. The Govt has the responsibility to reduce political tensions. Instead it outrageously stormed the main opposition H.Q. & arrested its leader. This behavior is unbecoming. Only Putin wins. Calm is needed. Secretary Antony Blinken needs to get on a plane!" - Luke Coffey, director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, Tweeted.
"Georgian Government's overreach is a chance for its unified opposition to make clear that it is responsible and ready to do the tough political work required to compel the Government back toward democracy. Such an effort would need and merit full U.S. and E.U. support," -Matthew Bryza, Former United States Ambassador to Azerbaijan Tweeted.
"This is serious, the Government of Georgia is deliberately breaking down democracy, risking to make it to another Belarus, this can not happen without consequences for Georgia regarding Association agreement and free-visa travel, EU must stand firm," - Gunnar Hökmark, Former Member of the European Parliament Tweeted. 
"The logic of escalation is getting the upper hand. The political crisis is deepening. All sides need to demonstrate responsibility and have the best interest of the country and the Georgian people at heart. Efforts to find common ground must not be abandoned," - Carl Hartzell, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia Tweeted.
"Estonia strongly condemns the violent storming of the opposition party office & escalation of the political situation in #Tbilisi. I call on the Govt and the opposition to exercise restraint & return to political dialogue. It's critical to make right decisions for the future," - Estonian MFA tweeted. 
"We are watching events in Georgia closely. The detention of the head of a major opposition party is of deep concern. NATO expects Georgia, as a close partner and Aspirant, to maintain the Euro-Atlantic democratic standards which it has worked so hard to meet and maintain. This includes resolving political differences through dialogue and avoiding polarising rhetoric and actions," - James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia posted on Facebook. 
"What's happened in Georgia today is very worrying. The first to lose out are the Georgian people. I urge restraint and for Georgia not to backtrack. We stand with those defending the rule of law and democracy in Georgia,"-Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Former Prime Minister of Denmark and 12th Secretary General of NATO posted on Facebook. 
"Closely following developments in TbilisiGeorgia, I call on both the government and the opposition to show restraint, engage in political dialogue in order to resolve the current political crisis," - Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs tweeted.
"Navalny arrest was first test. Myanmar second. Georgia is now third. In words, Biden has pledged to do more to advance democracy and human rights. Now it's time to match those words with deeds. Biden knows Georgia. I traveled there with him in 2009. He can have an impact there." Michael McFaul, Former United States Ambassador to Russia tweeted.
Former Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia resigned last week, saying that the opposition leader's arrest could lead to further escalation of political crisis and threaten the well-being of the country's citizens.
Last week, a Tbilisi court ruled to arrest Melia, who is accused of organizing "mass violence" during anti-government protests in 2019.