Agreement between Georgian and Belarusian intelligence services enters into force
An agreement of cooperation between the Georgian State Security Service (SSS), the country’s chief domestic intelligence agency and the State Security Committee (KGB) of Belarus entered into force on August 1, informed Civil.ge on August 14.
The deal, which was signed back in August 2016, envisages the parties to exchange information in the field of state security, as well as to cooperate on fighting crime against the constitutional order, sovereignty and territorial integrity, transnational organised crime, terrorism, cyber terrorism, and illegal circulation of weapons.
The agreement stipulates in its final Article 14 that it enters into force on the first day of the month following the exchange of the official diplomatic notes. This implies that the exchange of notes happened in July 2021.
The agreement also foresees the exchange of information on terrorism, extremist and separatist organisations, and specific individuals that are preparing terrorism or other actions posing a threat to the state security of either state. In addition, the parties may send security representatives / attachés to the territory of another signatory state.
According to the document, the two security agencies will hold working meetings, study visits, and conferences, and implement joint programs and training, and assist one another with technical means and equipment. The accord also allows the parties to refuse the request from another signatory if the request contradicts human rights, national legislation, and international obligations of the requested party or that poses a threat to its national interests.
Despite that, Georgian activists believe the cooperation agreement endangers the safety of Belarusian citizens living in Georgia. The NGO “Tbilisi Human Rights House” has called on Georgian authorities not to fulfil the cooperation agreement. “It is important that the Georgian side does not admit the actual implementation of the special services’ agreement, since it can pose a threat to the citizens of Belarus residing in Georgia, especially to human rights defenders and activists,” the NGO said in its statement translated by the “Caucasian Knot” correspondent.
Georgian oppositionists were also outraged by the agreement between the special services of Georgia and Belarus. “The most unreliable institution in our country cooperates with violators of human freedoms,” Tsotne Koberidze, an activist of the “Girchi” Party, said on August 15 on air of the “Mtavari Arkhi” TV Channel. The agreement damaged the image of the “Georgian Dream” Party and should be cancelled immediately, he has added.
The Georgian State Security Service says that the recent criticism over its agreement with the State Security Committee of Belarus against terrorism and corruption is caused by ‘disinformation’ and aims to discredit Georgian security and law enforcement agencies.
The agency says that the agreement covers cooperation against terrorism, corruption as well as other international and transnational organised crimes.
The SSS says that per the agreement, Georgia and Belarus will exchange information against crime voluntarily and that the agreement never obliges the signatories to act against their own interests.
We have such an agreement signed with the US, UK, France, Lithuania and other NATO and EU-member countries,” said the agency.