UPDATE - Sullivan, Georgian President Met Friday to Discuss Recent Developments - White House

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 11th March, 2023) US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili on Friday to discuss recent developments in the country after unrest broke out over a proposed foreign agents bill that drew controversy among non-governmental organizations and activists, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said.

"Mr. Sullivan met this morning with the President of Georgia," Kirby said during a conference call. "They did have a chance to discuss recent developments there, including these protests against controversial legislation, and they also discussed our shared strong concerns that this legislation would have a chilling effect and impede the important efforts of hundreds of Georgians, Georgian NGOs that are working to improve the community."

The Biden administration is glad to see that the legislation has been withdrawn in Georgia's parliament, Kirby added.

The United States continues to support Georgia's transatlantic aspirations, but there are still reforms needed to be able to advance them, with which Washington will help, according to Kirby.

Later on Friday, the White House said in a statement that Sullivan and Zourabichvili discussed recent developments in Georgia, underscoring their countries' shared interest in Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration.

They talked about President Zourabichvili's advocacy for a unified and inclusive approach to achieving the reforms necessary to advance Georgia's candidacy for European Union membership."

Sullivan and Zourabichvili also discussed the sanctions introduced by Western countries against Russia over the special military operation in Ukraine. The national security advisor warned that Georgia should avoid becoming "an avenue for evasion or backfill," according to the White House.

Georgia's parliament on Tuesday adopted a controversial draft law on transparency of foreign influence by a majority vote in the first reading. Under the law, a list of individuals and entities receiving financing from abroad would be created. The move triggered mass protests and concerns among the opposition, which fears it would allow the government to suppress the work of NGOs and activists in the country.

On Thursday, the ruling Georgian Dream party announced the withdrawal of the bill from the parliament, and earlier on Friday, the parliament voted against the controversial bill in the second reading.