21 Jun 2019 10:21

Russian State Duma speaker criticizes Georgia's management of IAO session in Tbilisi

MOSCOW. June 21 (Interfax) - Georgia, as organizer of the Tbilisi session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO), bears responsibility for the security of its participants, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin told the press on Thursday.

"The conduct demonstrated by the Georgian administration during the June 20 session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy contravenes the norms of managing international events. The IAO venue and organizational procedure were approved by Georgia in advance. Georgia, as the organizing state, bears responsibility for holding this important international forum and providing security to its participants," Volodin said.

"Those rules were simply ignored. They failed to manage the event and to protect the Russian delegation from attacks and threats," he said.

"The action staged by radicalized forces targeted not only the Russian representatives but also all 25 member states of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy. The session and the discussion of issues important to the organization were thwarted," Volodin said.

"The statements made by the Georgian authorities following the attack on the Russian delegation cause us to doubt their adequacy and capacity for being a responsible international partner," he said.

As reported earlier, protesters demanding the resignation of Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze tried to break into the parliament building.

According to Georgian television, the police worked to prevent the protesters from such action.

A number of opposition parties urged their followers to hold a rally on Thursday and protest against the participation of a Russian parliamentary delegation led by State Duma deputy Sergei Gavrilov in the 26th General Assembly of the IAO. The protests started after Gavrilov took the seat of the Georgian parliament speaker at the session's opening ceremony. The opposition blamed the authorities and the parliament speakers for allowing him to do so.

Co-leader of the opposition party European Georgia Gigi Ugulava said the rally would continue until Kobakhidze resigns.

The protesters additionally demanded the resignation of Georgian Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia and State Security Service chief Vakhtang Gomelauri.

Meanwhile, the media said Kobakhidze, who was paying a visit to Baku, had refused to step down.