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Georgia’s former health minister takes cabinet post in Ukraine

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, December 4
On December 3, Georgia’s former Minister of Health Aleksandre Kvitashvili took the same post in Ukraine. In doing so, he forfeited his Georgian citizenship.

Ukraine’s Parliament approved its new cabinet on December 3.

"For the past three months, I’ve worked on reforms in Ukraine, but my love for this country spans a much longer time,” said Kvitashvili, during his acceptance speech in the Rada (Ukraine’s Parliament).

"I accepted the offer because of my deep respect of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. I am proud to receive citizenship in a great country that has a bright future,” he said.

He was one of three foreigners to be named to posts within Ukraine’s cabinet. Aivaras Abromavichus of Lithuania is Ukraine’s new minister of economy and American Natalya Yaresko is the country’s new finance minister.

Kvitashvili is not wanted by the current government of Georgia. However, the Georgian Dream government members were not happy with the decision.

“The appointment creates some awkwardness. However, it is Ukraine’s sovereign right to make decisions concerning such issues,” head of Parliament’s Foreign Committee Tedo Japaridze said.

The fact triggered speculation in the Georgian media that Georgia’s Ambassador to Ukraine Mikheil Ukleba might be replaced. However, Japaridze and Georgia’s Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili denied the information.

Japaridze emphasized that Kvitashvili’s appointment to the post was not because of Ukleba’s inactiveness.

“Ukleba is professional. Georgia’s Foreign Ministry should have worked with Ukraine’s leadership more closely, that would have encouraged the Georgia’s ambassador to act freely,” Japaridze said.

The foreign minister said that appointing one or two former Georgian officials in Ukraine’s government “will not affect” Georgian-Ukrainian relations and partnership.