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“It was hard to accept that Georgia has been removed from US political radars,” President says

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, October 7
The President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, has stressed that Georgian problems “have been removed from the United States’ political radars”.

Margvelashvili made the statement in his interview with the Archevani talk-show on October 5. He claimed that while speaking about recent Russian aggression at the 70th session of the United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA), the US President mentioned only the example of Ukraine.

“It was very painful, as Georgia was the initial victim of Russian aggression, and we should have been mentioned first in that context.”

“The Georgian problems must return to US political radars through a very active and aggressive foreign policy. My 30 meetings in the United States served to speak out about Georgian problems,” Margvelashvili said.

Margvelashvili also stated that he, the President, and not the Prime Minister, should have delivered a speech before UNGA , as it was not a business speech and only served the aim to promote the state image, which was under the President’s jurisdiction.

“I released a statement wherein I praised the Prime Minister’s speech. I welcomed the fact that a speech was given, but not the fact that I did not give it… I thought that my points would empower the Georgian delegation, as I am motivated by the state’s interests before anything else,” Margvelahsvili suggested.

The President criticized Georgia’s Ambassador to the United States Archil Gegeshidze who, according to Margvelashvili, did not appear at any events led by the President.

Margvelashvili appealed to the Foreign Ministry of Georgia to encourage their ambassadors to maintain a diplomatic etiquette.

The President also stated that the recently-adopted resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE), criticizing Georgia, along with Turkey and Russia, for “abuse of pretrial detention”, was a “hard outcome”.

Margvelashvili said he was surprised why the Georgian delegation had failed to informed PACE about Georgia’s positive achievements in this regard, as prior to the resolution, Georgia’s Constitutional and City Courts declared that anything longer than a nine-month pre-trial detention period was illegal.

“We should take the resolution as it is and try to make improvements in our actions,” Margvelashvili said.

While speaking about the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2016, Margvelashvili excluded the creation of any new political organization and participating in the elections as a candidate.

“I have a Presidential mandate until 2018 and I remain ready to serve my people. After the expiration of my presidential term I will decide what to do; making statements about it now is very early,” the President stressed.

Concerning the legal procedures against the Rustavi 2 TV channel, which have resulted in the banning of the channel’s assets through the demand of the television’s former shareholders, the President stressed that Rustavi 2 should have been preserved as an independent media outlet, no matter who supported or derided it.

“Media outlets are one of the best achievements of the Georgian community. Politicians should stand by media outlets. It is a legal process and of course I will not get involved in it, but the politicians’ attitudes should support the impartial protection of the media,” Margvelashvili said.

The President also commented about the presidential elections in Georgia’s Football Federation and mentioned that the elections were not “procedurally refined and transparent.”

Responding to the statements, Georgia’s Special Envoy to Russia, Zurab Abashidze, stated that he did not share the President’s attitudes. He stressed that Georgian problems were set in all meetings in the United States.

With regards to Archil Gegeshidze, Minister of Health Davit Sergeenko stated that one ambassador could not be with two delegations together, as both the President and Prime Minister were holding meetings in the United States simultaneously.

‘The embassy representatives were divided in two groups; it appeared that the Ambassador was with the Prime Minister and other high-ranking embassy officials with the President,” Sergeenko said, noting that his field and the United States have been cooperating very closely.

Gegeshidze also made a statement, wherein he stressed that he did not violate any professional etiquette, as he acted based on the Georgian Constitution which states that the Government is the highest executive body which leads country’s domestic and foreign policies.