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Georgia MFA to monitor Ukraine’s steps before the ambassador’s return

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Tuesday, May 26
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia to Georgia Teimuraz Sharashenidze has arrived at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a consultation. Until 25th of May, the ambassador has been in the mandatory quarantine imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking to the media before entering the ministry, the ambassador said he did not share the criticism, as if the embassy had been inadequate.

“Based on the newly created reality, we will discuss all issues of cooperation between the two partner countries. Consultations will begin today, I can't tell you when it will end, but all issues will be discussed carefully,” he said, adding that he had had the highest level communication with Ukraine and the protest note has also been handed over.

According to Sharashenidze, his possible return to Ukraine will depend on the decision of the leadership.

The ambassador from Kiev was summoned for a consultation after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appointed Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia's third president and former head of the Odessa regional administration, as the Chairman of the Reform Committee.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia states that the issue of termination of diplomatic relations with Ukraine is not being considered, however, the appointment of the convict Saakashvili raises questions and consultations with the Ambassador are needed.

The MFA of Georgia states that they talked to the Ambassador of Georgia to Ukraine Teimuraz Sharashenidze about the relations and prospects between the countries.

“Naturally, we will observe the development of processes in Ukraine, what steps the Ukrainian government will take in terms of normalizing relations with Georgia, and accordingly the decision will be made on the date of the ambassador’s return to Ukraine,” said the Foreign Ministry Press.

After the first working meeting within the framework of consultations the issues and prospects of bilateral relations between Georgia and Ukraine were discussed, taking into account the current situation. MFA once again clarified that the summoning of the ambassador to the capital for consultations is a step taken in diplomatic practice. “The Georgian side made this decision due to the appointment of a person convicted in Georgia by the Ukrainian authorities to a public office,” said the ministry.

MFA also emphasized that Georgia continues to work with Ukraine on a number of strategic issues, including the occupation of territories, the process of European and Euro-Atlantic integration, and cooperation in the usual way.

Irakli Beraia, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, commented on the summoning of the ambassador to Georgia, saying that Georgia and Ukraine's strategic partnership and diplomatic relations are in no danger and Saakashvili will not be able to damage these relations. He spoke of the common challenges and priorities of the two countries, emphasising that the cooperation in bilateral and multilateral formats, as well as diplomatic relations are not to be questioned.

Gia Volski, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Kakha Kaladze, Secretary General of the ruling Georgian Dream consider that all self-respecting countries would behave exactly as Georgia did, however, the strategic partnership should not be harmed.

According to Davit Sikharulidze, Chairman of the Board of the Atlantic Council of Georgia, the ambassador is usually being consulted about serious problems related to the country's sovereignty, territorial integrity and aggression. Therefore, in this case Georgian government has taken the wrong, inadequate step by expressing extreme protest. Sikharulidze says this once again confirms that ‘the state has been seized by one man and MFA is not serving the interests of our country, but interests of this man and Georgian Dream.

Sergi Kapanadze, one of the leaders of European Georgia, responded to the statement of the MFA, saying such an attitude leads the country to a dead end. According to him, challenging the ambassador was harmful enough, and saying that we will act in accordance with what Ukraine will do about appointments, is a disaster. “What happens if appointments are not changed, will we ruin relations with Ukraine?” he asked, adding that this situation once again shows why current leadership has to be removed so that “they do not pursue the country's foreign policy with specific ambitions, plans and some kind of one-man show.”