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Controversy arises over Climate Change Summit speech

By Mariam Mchedlidze
Tuesday, September 2
A controversy has emerged between the Prime Minister and the President over who will deliver a speech at the United Nations Climate Change Summit. It was expected that President Giorgi Margvelashvili would deliver the speech at the summit.

However, Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani informed on September 1 that the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili will do it instead.

The UN Climate Change’s 69th Conference is going to be held on September 23, 2014 in New York where the speech for the Prime Minister is already scheduled. Zalkailani stressed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not working on Margvelashvili’s visit on the summit.

Responding to the news, the president’s Advisor Tengiz Pkhaladze said that Margvelashvili not Gharibashvili will deliver the speech.

Pkhaladze stated that everything is already planned and organized concerning the speech Margvelashvili will deliver. According to him, he was not informed about the change of plans about the Prime Minister speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference.

In addition, Pkhaladze has confirmed that the official document with the president’s signature has already been sent to the UN Deputy Secretary-General for the summit.

Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze has explained that sending two delegations to the UN is “awkward”, damaging the country’s interests. She stated that the Foreign Ministry has tried to explain the situation to the president several times.

“It seems the argumentations have not be taken into account. Preparing a visit without the involvement of the Foreign Ministry will put the ministry and the country in an awkward situation,” Panjikidze said, adding that as a rule, a country’s delegation head attends all the meetings in the frame of such summits.

“There are various summits planned, including the climate change one. The Georgian delegation is chaired the Prime Minister, thus he should participate in all the events. Sometimes invitations are send before specifying who will lead the delegation,” Panjikidze said.

It should be stated that through the new constitution, the president mainly maintained his power in the foreign policy direction…