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Additional controversy over UN summit

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, September 18
The presidentís administration has released a correspondence between the presidentís administration and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The information was aired first by Rustvi 2 and triggered another controversy.

The presidentís administration and the TV channel claimed that the invitation letter to President Margvelashvili to the 69th UN General Assembly was sent by the Secretary General on February 25, 2014, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the president`s administration about the invitation on June 11th, almost four months later.

On July 7th, the president sent a confirmation letter to the ministry that he would participate in the Climate Change Summit held at the UN, but the other day the Foreign Ministry informed the president that the prime minister would attend the Climate Change Summit and all other events held in the frames of the General Assembly.

The correspondence between the administrations of the government and the president continued afterwards, but finally, the president announced on September 11th that his visit to the United States was canceled.

In response, Minister of Foreign Affairs Maia Panjikidze states that the presidentís administration was trying to mislead people and emphasized that the initial letter from the organization was sent mistakenly for former President Mikheil Saakashvili. The minister also stressed that the presidentís administration should not have made confidential correspondence public without the permission of the Foreign Ministry.

Panjikidze states that the ministry received the invitation for MIkheil Saakashvili on March 14 that was sent on February 25. She states that following the mistake, the Foreign Ministry wrote to the UN saying that the President of Georgia was no longer Mikheil Saakashvili. It took several weeks and on May 30, the Foreign Ministry received a new invitation for Giorgi Margvelashvili, which was sent to the presidentís administration on June 5.

ďAt the same time, Georgia received an invitation for the UN General Assembly and the government decided that the delegation would be headed by Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili. When we sent the formal invitation to the president, we also informed him that the Georgian delegation was departing for the UN General Assembly headed by the prime minister. This is a real situation. So, I ask the president's administration to not mislead our society,Ē Panjikidze said.

Giorgi Margvelashviliís Adviser for Foreign Relations Tengiz Pkhaladze said that the administration had no information about the letter, which was sent by the United Nations on May 30. Pkhaladze presented the letter that was sent to President Margvelashvili by the United Nations on February 25.

ďIt seems that the foreign minister knows something that the administration has not recently seen,Ē Pkhaladze said.

Commenting on the issue Defense Minister Irakli Alasania stated that speculation over the topic should be concluded as people are tired of the developments. He reassured that the government and the president would find a common language on all important issues, as the current confrontation threatens the countryís interests.