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MFA responds to TI Georgia

Friday, August 10
A couple of days ago Transparency International Georgia disseminated information that implicated diplomats at the Georgian Embassy in the United States in attempting to discredit opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili and his Georgian Dream coalition.

“We received information regarding these political e-mails from two prominent American scholars. One of them presented us with e-mails sent to him by Khatuna Okroshidze, the Second Secretary of the Georgian Embassy to the United States. Okroshidze’s first e-mail contains a translation from an Asaval-Dasavali newspaper article in which John Bass is referred to in a negative context. In the e-mail, the Georgian Embassy representative also writes that Asaval-Dasavali is Ivanishvili’s favorite newspaper and it is famous for its xenophobic articles. Okroshidze’s second e-mail, sent to another American scholar, contains excerpts from different Georgian newspapers stating the viewpoints of the Industry Will Save Georgia political party representatives. The Embassy representative notes in the same e-mail that this political party is known for its anti-western attitudes,” TI report says.

In a response to the report, Georgia’s Foreign Ministry made a statement on August 9 stating that the MFA has concluded that the allegations of the "politicization" of the diplomatic service and the misuse of administrative resources are without basis.

“Full investigation by the MFA has concluded that the allegations of the "politicization" of the diplomatic service and the misuse of administrative resources are without basis.

The emails in questions did not include any overtly political assessments. Instead, they focused on facts related to the positions of the Georgian political parties on foreign policy matters of national significance for Georgia. As clearly stated in one of the emails, the information it contained aimed at providing relevant information to scholars and researchers "following the discussion with Ambassador John Bass at the Atlantic Council on June 13th." A second email referred to by TI-Georgia had similar content. In no instance did Georgian diplomats offer political assessments of their own to their foreign interlocutors. Neither was the diplomatic service of Georgia advancing the positions of any single political party,” Georgia’s MFA statement reads.

According to the released statement, the Government of Georgia, and therefore the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are entitled to have clearly defined and declared interests and positions on issues of national security and foreign policy - such as on the integration of Georgia into NATO and the protection of the rights of national minorities and other civil liberties. As such, the MFA regularly provides the international community with updates on these important issues, including on the positions of Georgian political parties on these topics. Moreover, Georgia's diplomatic missions are regularly asked by experts, scholars and others to keep them abreast of events in Georgia. In this context, Georgia's diplomats often disseminate relevant factual information, without providing any undue political assessments of their own.

“Given the aforementioned it is clear that Georgia's diplomats have not violated Georgian legislation and established diplomatic standards for democracies. The MFA will continue to ensure that its practices conform with established norms of international diplomacy and relevant Georgian legislation, including the Constitution of Georgia and the Georgian Law on Diplomatic Service,” it says.