EU ‘Taking Appropriate Steps’ on Georgia’s Alleged Spying on EU Diplomats

The Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has quoted Peter Stano, Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, as saying that alleged spying on EU diplomatic mission in Georgia “is a very serious matter.”

“This is a very serious matter since it has implications in the framework of the Vienna convention on Diplomatic Relations,” Stano was cited as saying by Rikard Jozwiak of RFE/RL on Twitter.

“We’re taking appropriate steps in this context as we always do in such situations, but given the nature of the alleged incident, we will not say more at the moment,” reportedly added the Lead Spokesperson.

Georgian media outlets reported that recently leaked alleged files of the State Security Service include details on conversations of EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell, U.S. diplomats, Israeli Ambassador Ran Gidor, as well as employees of other diplomatic missions in Georgia.

Formula TV, which has seen the leaked files, reported on September 15 that the documents included a brief on EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell’s plans to attend a meeting of diplomats with clergy on October 9, 2020, as well as the Ambassador’s discussion with another EU Delegation employee on the Georgian Orthodox Church’s stance on holding religious rituals amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili accused the opposition of “fabricating” leaked materials. “We understand very well that this severe campaign, which was directed against the [Georgian Orthodox] Church and the government, now against diplomats, serves only one political, narrow party interest.”

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