The Georgian Foreign Ministry rejected on August 9 allegations about “politicization” of diplomatic service and misusing administrative resources as groundless.
Transparency International Georgia said on July 27 that the Georgian embassy in Washington was sending out emails to U.S.-based Georgia watchers and analysts in which a Georgian diplomat “is trying to discredit” Bidzina Ivanishvili and his opposition coalition Georgian Dream. The Tbilisi-based watchdog group said that such practice represented use of the state resources in favor of the ruling party and also was also a violation of Georgia’s law on diplomatic service, which obliges a diplomat to be politically neutral and not to engage in “activities/propaganda in favor or against of any political party.”
TI Georgia made public two emails, which the watchdog group said was provided by one of the recipients of these emails. One email, sent by a second secretary at the Georgian embassy in the U.S., contains an English translation of an editorial from Asaval-Dasavali, the Georgian newspaper once highly praised by Ivanishvili, which slams U.S. ambassador to Georgia and another email, also sent by the same diplomat, contains quotes of Gogi Topadze, one of Ivanishvili’s political partners, in which he criticizes Georgia’s NATO aspirations.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on August 9 that it had carried out “a full investigation” into the case but found no basis to these allegations.
“The emails in questions did not include any overtly political assessments. Instead, they focused on facts related to the positions of the Georgian political parties on foreign policy matters of national significance for Georgia,” the Foreign Ministry said. “In no instance did Georgian diplomats offer political assessments of their own to their foreign interlocutors. Neither was the diplomatic service of Georgia advancing the positions of any single political party.”
It also said that allegations on misuse of administrative resources were also groundless because “the emails in question were not sent to Georgian citizens, but to foreign experts and researchers who do not take part in Georgian elections.”
“Therefore, the notion that the Ministry misused administrative resources for electoral purposes is without merit,” the Foreign Ministry said. “Georgia's diplomatic missions are regularly asked by experts, scholars and others to keep them abreast of events in Georgia. In this context, Georgia's diplomats often disseminate relevant factual information, without providing any undue political assessments of their own.”