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Georgia to have new ambassador to the US

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, September 12
Georgia’s Prime Minister announced that after the October 8 Parliamentary elections, the current Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration will become Georgia’s new Ambassador to the United States (US).

Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration David Bakradze will replace Georgia’s Ambassador to the US Archil Gegeshidze, PM Kvirikashvili said on Friday.

“The decision is already made, and we have already consulted with the President of Georgia about the issue,” Kvirikashvili said.

Kvirikashvili stressed that Bakradze had “all characteristics” that would precondition his success in the “very important” role.

“Mr. Bakradze has excellent working experience as an ambassador in the member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), he has huge experience to the Euro-Atlantic integration, and his personal characteristics can also play a big role in establishing important communications,” the PM said.

Kvirikashvili thanked Gegeshidze, who was appointed as the ambassador in March 2013, for his performance as the ambassador and highlighted he had provided much efforts to more deepen Georgia-US relations.

Controversy about Gegeshidze emerged in July when he was summoned to the Foreign Ministry of Georgia to provide an explanation over his statements on the ruling team.

Gegeshidze had said in his interview with local Georgian newspaper that pro-Russian forces were in the ruling team but did not influence decision-making processes.

Since then, no comments have been made over the Ambassador in terms of the issue.

Bakradze, 41, was appointed as the Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration in November 2014.

In 2002, he joined the diplomatic service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.

In2002-2005 he served as a Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Georgia to UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva at the Embassy of Georgia to the Swiss Confederation.

In 2005-2008he was head of the First European Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, while in 2008-2012 he served as a Senior Counsellor of the Embassy of Georgia to the Republic of Finland.

In 2012 April - 2014 November, Bakradze was Ambassador of Georgia to the Hellenic Republic and the Republic of Serbia.

Commenting on the issue, Georgia’s ex-Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli - who is now taking part in the elections separately from the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia Party with the Republicans - said Bakradze’s future appointment was “very good news”.

She described him as a high-class professional, but she asked whether the ruling team and the Prime Minister would see the professionalism of Bakradze if he were not the member of the ruling team.