Events surrounding ‘foreign agents’ bill in Georgia amount to coup attempt: Russia’s Lavrov

By Anadolu Agency

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday that the events surrounding the “foreign agents” bill in Georgia amounted to an “attempt to change the government by force.”

“There is no doubt that the law on the registration of non-governmental organizations … was just an excuse to start an attempt to change the government by force,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russian Pervy TV. According to Lavrov, the US, France, India and Israel have similar legislation and in the US, the punishment is “much more severe.”

“Nevertheless, despite the fact that in a number of European countries, there are similar norms. Mr. Borrell stated that the law that the Georgians are promoting contradicts European values and blocks the path of Georgia’s accession to the EU. In general, the obvious hypocrisy,” he said, referring to the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

Lavrov compared protests in Georgia and Moldova and said that in Georgia, the West supports opposition because it promotes Western interests, while in Moldova, the West “condemned” protests because there, the government and president represent Western interests.

“Two similar situations with protests are unfolding before our eyes, and by the way, the protests in Tbilisi were far from peaceful, as we could see, cars were turned over, and demonstrators used tear gas, and smoke bombs.

“I don’t remember this in Chisinau, but even if it would be a similar action, the attitude toward it is fundamentally different,” he said. According to Lavrov, the current events in Georgia “are being orchestrated from outside” with the goal to create “irritants on Russia’s borders.”

“And an irritant in a country where the current government not at all ‘pro-Russian’,” he said.

West wants to incite China and India against each other

Lavrov said that while Russia is announced an “existential” and “immediate threat that needs to be dealt with in the shortest possible time,” China is named as a “long-term, constant challenge to the West in the world.”

“At the moment, the Russian Federation is a priority in the plans of the West, in its rhetoric, in its actions, but in parallel with this, sanctions wars against the People’s Republic of China have already begun.

I am sure that the sanction pressure will increase,” Lavrov said. According to the foreign minister, India, as a “rising state” of Asia, is experiencing pressure as well.

“India is seen as a counterweight to China, given the presence of long-standing problems in relations with Beijing, including border disputes,” he said.

The minister claimed the West seeks to incite India against China, and that India is “perfectly aware of it.”

“They (Indians) tell us frankly that they see these attempts, they see the true goals pursued by NATO, including in expanding ‘its’ area of responsibility from the Euro-Atlantic to the Asia-Pacific region,” Lavrov said.

He also said that India says that it agreed to take part in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), consisting of Australia, India, USA and Japan, “exclusively for economic projects.”

Lavrov says meeting with US secretary of state was ‘constructive. Asked about a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the G-20 ministerial meeting in New Delhi last week, Lavrov said it was “constructive.”

“We discussed the situation in the sphere of strategic stability, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and the Ukrainian topic. I’m not revealing any secrets about what we talked about. Nothing else was discussed except these two topics,” he said.

He once again reiterated that the topic of the prisoner exchange was not touched upon, although Blinken earlier said it was.

“I don’t want to go into the details of how this short 10-minute conversation turned out, but in principle, everything I heard fits into the well-known, publicly voiced, repeatedly stressed position of the United States in this regard,” he said.

Lavrov said the two diplomats spoke “without emotions,” shook hands in the beginning and at the end of the meeting.

He regretted that an ordinary meeting became a “sensation,” saying the “psychological perception of the meeting” shows how complicated diplomatic relations are these days.

“This is an absolutely civilized conversation, but it once again shows how low we have all fallen in our multilateral diplomacy, if this meeting on the sidelines, is now considered as a kind of reason for guessing whether it is a breakthrough or not, is there any hope that the dialogue will be restored,” he said.

Lavrov added that “unprecedentedly harsh rhetoric and actions” used against Russia show that the West “has really decided for itself that this is a life-and-death war.”

Asked if Russia plans any retaliation to the explosions of the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, Lavrov said: “I don’t want to threaten anyone or hint at anything, but I just know that this is the grossest terrorist attack that will not remain uninvestigated.”

“And if an objective, impartial, transparent investigation is blocked, which will not be reduced to an agreement that what the Swedes and the Danes have decided is the final verdict, of course, we will think about how to respond to the West to this direct attack, a direct attempt on our property,” he said.

Asked if “one ‘good’ turn deserves another,” Lavrov said: “Definitely.”

Macron’s visit to Africa

Lavrov also commented on the recent visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Africa, saying the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo “explained” to the French leader “how to talk politely with African partners, even if they have historically recently gained independence, and before that were colonies, including French ones.”

Lavrov also said that Russia does not see any sense in suing the Western countries in the World Trade Organization, because there is a clause, allowing states “to do whatever they want” if there is a “threat to their security.”