The European Commission expresses serious concern about Georgia's reputation in connection with the recent kidnapping of a foreign citizen in Tbilisi, says a statement by Chris Patten, member of the European Commission responsible for external relations.
Peter Shaw, head of the EU-financed TACIS project and a British subject, was kidnapped in the centre of Tbilisi on Tuesday. Shaw has worked in Georgia for six years. His work as head of the TACIS project to create the Agro-Business bank of Georgia was drawing to an end, and he was to leave the country in a couple of days.
Chris Patten has urged the Georgian authorities to take immediate actions.
"We count upon the Georgian authorities that they will persecute the people who attacked Peter Shaw with all the strictness of law, and ensure his safe release," says the statement.
Patten noted that "this is not the first such case in the past months, and it should serve as a pretext for serious concern over Georgia's reputation." The member of the European Commission has called upon President Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia and the Georgian authorities to ensure an adequate level of protection to foreigners working in the country.
Chris Patten drew attention "to the fact that the level of security in Georgia is gradually lowering. Guenter Weichel, a staffer of the EU mission, was killed in December 2001. Those who are guilty of the murder have not yet been convicted, says the document.
The representation of the European Commission in Russia reported that the European Commission and Great Britain had been assured by the authorities of Georgia that all the security services are treating the work on the release of kidnapped Peter Shaw as an utmost priority.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969