Georgian Ambassadors meet Ministers
By Mzia Kupunia
Wednesday, September 9Georgian Ambassadors and Ministers held a two day Ambassadorial meeting to discuss the main priorities of Georgian foreign policy on September 7-8 at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel. According to those attending the meeting sought to achieve “more coordination” between the Georgian Embassies and the Ministries. “This meeting has proven that one of the preconditions for success in diplomatic activities is more coordination,” Georgia’s Ambassador to NATO, former Prime Minister Gega Mgaloblishvili, stated.
Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze outlined the several “top” priorities of Georgia’s foreign policy. The first is security and stability, the second the restoration of territorial integrity by peaceful means and ensuring the inviolability of Georgia’s international status as a sovereign state, the third is presenting Georgia as a democratic, successful and liberal country and the fourth is attracting investment. Vashadze instructed the Ambassadors to work in these four directions. “Ambassadors who have spent 11 months of the year outside Georgia should feel how our international priorities have changed since the August war,” Vashadze noted. He assessed the Ambassadorial as “very needed, timely and productive.”
Some representatives of the Georgian Government said Georgia’s NATO integration remains part of the “top list” of priorities. State Minister for Euro Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze said that Georgia’s NATO integration is “vital” for the country, especially since the Russian-Georgian conflict last year. “People have realised how important NATO integration is when you have such a neighbour as Russia,” Baramidze told journalists on the first day of the Ambassadorial. “We need to be 100 times better in order to get the same evaluation as other countries got on their way to NATO membership. We should not let anyone block our integration in the alliance. We have serious international support for this,” the State Minister added.
Georgia’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic Nino Nakashidze reiterated that Georgia’s NATO integration and the resolution of the problems created by the Russian-Georgian war remain on the top of the agenda for Georgia. “Our priorities have not changed – becoming a member of NATO and countering the results of the Georgian-Russian conflict are still top priorities,” Nakashidze noted.
Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri met the diplomats later on Tuesday and urged them to attract more investments to Georgia. “There have been a lot of positive economic changes in Georgia and these changes should be made clear to investors who are seeking new markets to invest their money in. For this task we have our Ambassadors, who loaded with all the relevant information should do their utmost to inform potential investors,” Gilauri said.
Newly appointed Minister of Economic Development and former Ambassador to Spain Zurab Pololikashvili stressed the need to strengthen ties between the Economy Ministry and the Georgian diplomatic missions. He said Georgia has a “big resource” of diplomatic missions, which are “still unused’. “Each of the Embassies could do much more and it is possible to establish some interesting projects,” Pololikashvili said. The Economy Minister noted that economic attaches will be sent to Georgian Embassies abroad to work on specific projects for attracting investments. “We will try to become one team and work together in terms of attracting investment, which remains the priority of the country,” Pololikashvili told journalists.
Georgia’s Permanent Representative at the Council of Europe, Zurab Chiaberashvili, also commented on the necessity of attracting investments to Georgia. He said Georgia should seek financial markets not only in its neighbouring countries but other states. “Our task today is to strengthen Georgia’s economy and attract investments. We have received interesting proposals from Zurab Pololikashvili,” Chiaberashvili noted.
The leader of the opposition Movement for Fair Georgia, former Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli, held a conference on Georgia’s foreign policy priorities attended by political analysts on Tuesday. Noghaideli suggested that Georgia’s main foreign policy priority should be improving relations with Russia. Analysts said that “as the August war has turned everything upside down in the region” it is necessary to change Georgia’s foreign policy. They criticised the Government for having “no priorities” in its relations with neighbouring countries, including Russia, and suggested that these should be defined.
Political analyst and former Ambassador to Russia Zurab Abashidze has told The Messenger that making improving relations with Russia the top priority in Georgia’s foreign policy would serve no purpose. He said that one of the priorities listed by Vashadze, security and stability in the region, “somehow implies improving relations in the region, including relations with Russia.”