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Presidentís Turkish trip stirs-up fresh controversy

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, October 1
The President of Georgia has concluded his visit to the Turkey, where he took part in the work of the World Economic Forum.

ďParticipation in such forums has great importance, because at such events we are given opportunities to meet influential politicians and business experts. We are also given the possibility to introduce our country to them and present our priorities, which should make Georgia much more attractive to them. We have had the pleasure to talk about the benefits of the Free and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement for us and for our friend nations; we focused on transnational projects, which stretch from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea. We have also discussed the liberal and open standards of Georgian economics. Similar meetings will certainly be effective, especially in the wake of the increasing interest in Georgia. This is a country connecting Asia with Europe, which is already a part of the strongest, European market,Ē the president stated.

During his visit to Turkey, the president received an invitation at the Davos World International Forum that is held annually at the beginning of each year. However, the invitation stirred controversy as, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili was also invited.

Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze admitted that the ministry has already begun preparation for the PMís visit to Davos.

Vice-Premier Kakhi Kaladze states that Gharibashvili is the head of state and his presence at the summit will be more beneficial for Georgia.

The presidentís Advisor in Economic issues Giorgi Abashishvili confirms that Margvelashvili has received an official invitation. However, he stated that presidents receive multiple invitations and make a choice based on certain criteria: importance of the meeting, its content and the presidentís schedule.

ďWe will discuss all the criteria and the president will make his decision only after,Ē Abashishvili said.

There is no common opinion among analysts concerning the issue.

Expert Tornike Sharashenidze believes that the president should leave for Davos as he received an offer from the forumís chairperson.

However, analyst Zaza Piralishvili suggests that economic issues are within the prime ministerís competence and Gharibashvili should attend the forum.

Fellow analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili assures that the prime minister and the president will manage to agree on the issue without much noise, as open confrontation among them over foreign visits have already ended.