The FINANCIAL -- The EU's foreign policy
chief on Monday warned Georgia against political prosecutions after
several top figures from President Mikheil Saakashvili 's recently ousted
government were arrested.
"There should be no selective justice, no retribution against political rivals," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told journalists during a visit to Tbilisi .
Saakashvili's allies have alleged persecution after the arrests of his former defence minister, the army's top general and several interior ministry officials since the new government led by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili was brought to power by polls last month.
Ashton said that the rival political forces should "uphold European values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law".
"Investigations into past wrongdoings must be, and must be seen to be, impartial, transparent and in compliance with due process," she said.
After meeting Saakashvili and Ivanishvili separately, she also urged the rivals to work together and "use their offices and institutions to contribute constructively to Georgia's good governance".
Despite his party's defeat in the October parliamentary vote, Saakashvili remains president of the ex-Soviet state for another year but the arrests have made the two men's political cohabitation increasingly fraught.
Ivanishvili has denied that the cases are politically motivated but has said that crimes committed under the nine-year rule of Saakashvili 's former government must be dealt with.
As EUbusiness announced, Georgia's new premier has however promised to maintain Saakashvili 's pro-Western foreign policy and continue its bid to join NATO and ultimately the EU.
Speaking after meeting Ashton, Ivanishvili said that gaining membership of the EU was "the Georgian people's historical dream".
"Our government will do everything so that these processes develop as rapidly as possible," he said in a video statement posted on his Facebook page.
The October polls were praised by Georgia's Western supporters as the first peaceful transfer of power since independence from the Soviet Union.
But the arrests have raised concerns from EU and NATO officials.
Former defence minister Bacho Akhalaia and army chief of staff Giorgi Kalandadze are being prosecuted for alleged abuse of office, while 11 senior police and Tbilisi 's deputy mayor face charges of alleged cyber spying on Ivanishvili's allies during the bitterly-fought election campaign.