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Georgia’s former President takes high post in Ukraine

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, February 16
Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is wanted by Georgian law-enforcement bodies, has been appointed as the head of a newly established International Advisory Council on Reforms of Ukraine. Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko announced the news on February 13.

“We’ve been thinking for a long time how to use the knowledge, experience and unique know-how of Mikheil Saakashvili in the best possible way. In Georgia, he managed to implement reforms in all spheres of economic, political and social life,” Poroshenko said.

“Until recently, Mikheil was in fact a freelance consultant of Ukraine in reforms and now, at last, he gets the official status,” the Ukrainian President said.

Saakashvili, who has stated that he did not wish to a take high post in Ukraine as he would have to lose his Georgian citizenship, will retain his Georgian citizenship through the post.

He has already made his first statements in the new post. He stressed the necessity of providing Ukraine with weapons and put the French President’s reliability in question mark in the course of the Russian-Ukrainian peace negotiations.

The opposition United National Movement (UNM) believes that Ukraine will benefit much from Saakashvili, as the latter enjoys huge experience in the international field and has crucial contacts for Ukraine’s government.

This view is not shared by government members. According to the majority MP Eliso Chapidze, those officials who have been appointed in Ukraine to high posts have failed to achieve success in Georgia.

Members of the opposition Free Democrats assert that the Saakashvili’s appointment will negatively impact Georgian-Ukrainian relations.

“The current government’s foreign policy wing failed to persuade Ukrainian leaders not to make a choice on former Georgian officials,” Zurab Abashidze from Free Democrats said.

Saakashvili is not the first to take an important post in Ukraine. Several former Georgian officials are already holding senior government positions in the country.

Georgia’s ex-healthcare minister Alexander Kvitashvili took the same post in Ukraine and ex-deputy interior minister Eka Zguladze was appointed as Ukraine’s deputy interior minister.

Gia Getsadze, who took several posts under the UNM government, was appointed as Ukraine’s deputy justice minister. Three other former Georgian officials have also joined the Ukrainian justice ministry.

The UNM MP Davit Sakvarelidze has applied for the post of head of Ukraine’s anti-corruption bureau.