Frontera calls on Georgian government to stop disinformation campaign

TBILISI(BPI)-In response to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Frontera Resources calls the Ministry’s actions blatant disregard of the ruling and calls on the government to stop the threats to arbitrary cancel the contract.

“In light of misleading public statements made by the Deputy Minister of Economy on June 22, 2020, Frontera wishes to highlight that, considering the Government of Georgia’s failure to achieve cancellation of our contract in its recent international arbitration action against our company, the Government must now stop its blatant disregard of the ruling. It must now stop continued threats to arbitrarily cancel our contract on July 27th.

We wish to be clear that no legal basis exits whatsoever for cancellation of our contract with the Government of Georgia. The Deputy Minister’s continued insistence to the contrary is simply wrong andwe ask that the Government of Georgia cease and desist from the continued threats, harassment and intimidation of our business and its employees. Any attempt to arbitrarily cancel, terminate or otherwise occupy and seize by force the oil and gas operations of our company, is an illegal, criminal act of expropriation and will be treated as such.

Over the past few weeks, intimidation and disinformation initiatives have increased towards our business. Meanwhile, a cynical series of public statements have been made on June 23rd by the Minister of Economy and Deputy Minister of Economy. These statements seem to indicate that while the Government of Georgia plans to arbitrarily cancel our contract on July 27th and expropriate our holdings, the Ministry “…will do our best to make U.S. companies feel even more comfortable…”

The Minister of Economy has this week released misleading information related to foreign direct investment from the United States, stating that “in the first quarter of 2020, US investment increased by 34% and ranked second among the largest investor countries with 17%”. This is a disingenuous effort to mask the significant challenges associated with U.S. private-sector investment in Georgia. We call upon the Minister to be publicly transparent and share the basis for this information in order to demonstrate those U.S. private-sector investors that are the basis for this substantial increase in foreign direct investment, while Georgia’s overall foreign direct investment has plummeted by more than 50%.

The Minister of Economy has also this week gone on to publicly say “Today, about 300 American companies operate in Georgia. In the first quarter of 2020, American investments were made in communications, energy, development, tourism, etc. ” Over the past year, the Georgian Embassy in Washington D.C., as well as other senior Georgian Government officials in Tbilisi, have made similar claims in an attempt to make the public believe that there is a sizeable U.S. company presence in Georgia. This is simply not true.

The actual number of U.S. private-sector companies with headquarters and physical offices in the United States who are making meaningful investment in Georgia to employ hundreds of employees and build significant, sustainable value for the country’s economy is indeed quite small; maybe less than ten. If we are wrong in this assessment, we respectfully call on the Minister of Economy to provide this information to the public.

Despite wishful claims that private-sector foreign direct investment from the United States is somehow increasing amidst the most paralyzing international pandemic of our lifetime, it is not encouraging for the Ministry of Economy to publish false narratives.

If Georgia’s objective is to truly enjoy the benefit of increased U.S. private-sector investment, it is time to put political theatre and contract cancellations aside and make sincere efforts to meet with U.S.private-sector investors to solve their challenges. If this is not the objective, then Georgia’s private sector economy will continue to be increasingly controlled by interests from Russia, China, Iran and Azerbaijan”, – it is said in the statement.

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