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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Assesses its Performance

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, September 13
An ambassadorial conference involving diplomatic delegations and consulates of Georgia is taking place in Tbilisi from the 12th to the 14th of September. Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze has positively assessed Georgia's diplomatic corps and consular activities, however he also noted that more needs to be done. "We have many professional, patriotic diplomats, but this is not enough to overcome the challenges which we are facing nowadays. What was satisfactory in 2010, in 2012 will be unacceptable," Vashadze said. He noted that Georgia is restricted in resources and therefore needs to demand high standards from all diplomats in performing their duties.

"We have no possibilities to increase the quantity of diplomats rapidly. No time is left to wait until our younger generation will complete their studies at foreign universities to work in our establishments. That's why we should exploit all our resources and demand from our employees 100% commitment," the minister said.

The state’s successful relations with international organizations were especially underlined during the first day of the ambassadorial conference. As Georgia’s representative to the European Union, Salome Samadashvili, said, negotiations on free trade with the EU will be opened until the end of the year and the target for the following year will be to launch negotiations on a visa free travel regime.

A representative of the non-parliamentary opposition Republican Party, Tina Khidasheli, thinks that one main advantage of Georgian foreign policy this year was the continuation of the non-recognition policy towards the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. "Unfortunately, I do not see any other advantages or successes in the activities of our diplomatic corps. Currently, we are far from the European Union and NATO, as far as we have ever been," Khidasheli told The Messenger.

The professionalism of the Georgian diplomatic corps was assessed very positively by a member of the parliamentary minority party, the Christian Democrats, Nika Laliashvili, while speaking with The Messenger. According to him, the personnel of Georgia's overseas ministries are good at their job, however the problem is in the orders they get from those above them. "I can asses their professionalism and actions really positively, moreover, this is the only ministry which acts as it should, however our general foreign policy is wrong. The problem is in the immature politics that the state leadership has chosen.”

No systemic improvement is evident, analyst Gia Khukhashvili told The Messenger. According to Khukhashvili, the situation is becoming worse in the ministry and no noticeable diplomatic achievement was reached over the year. "No high level meeting has been held lately, only some kinds of conferences and entertainment," the analyst said.