Nine ambassadorial nominations have been submitted to Parliament for confirmation, among them candidates for diplomatic posts in Washington, Paris, Brussels and Rome.
New ambassadorial nominations were made by President Saakashvili, as required by the law, but the candidates were actually selected by the new government led by PM Bidzina Ivanishvili.
Foreign policy analyst Archil Gegeshidze has been named as Georgia’s ambassador to the United States to replace Temur Yakobashvili.
Gegeshidze is a senior fellow at the Tbilisi-based think-tank Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS). Gegeshidze, who in 1990s served as President Shevardnadze’s senior foreign policy advisor, holds a diplomatic rank of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary; he, however, has never served in any diplomatic posts. Before joining GFSIS, Gegeshidze was a Fulbright scholar at the Stanford University.
Ekaterine Siradze-Delaunay has been named as ambassador to France; Siradze-Delaunay, who has never served in the diplomatic service before, was an executive director of a Tbilisi-based election watchdog International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) in 2007-2011.
Natalie Sabanadze has been named as Georgia ambassador to Belgium and the European Union. Sabanadze has been a senior political advisor to the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities since 2005.
Zaza Kandelaki, who was Georgia’s deputy foreign minister in 2003-2004 and then served as ambassador to Poland in 2004-2005, has been named as ambassador to Hungary, replacing Zviad Chumburidze.
Teimuraz Janjalia, who is head of the department for international economic, cultural and humanitarian relations at the Foreign Ministry, has been named as ambassador to Latvia; he was chargé d'affaires at the Georgian embassy in Latvia in 2006.
Konstantine Zaldastanishvili, who was Georgia’s ambassador to Brussels in 2000-2005, has been named as ambassador to Austria and permanent representative to OSCE and other Vienna-based international organizations. Zaldastanishvili has been secretary general of Brussels-based EU-Georgia Business Council since 2005.
Zaal Gogsadze, who served as Georgia’s ambassador to Italy in 2004-2008, has been nominated as ambassador to the Czech Republic; in the October elections Gogsadze ran as Georgian Dream’s majoritarian MP candidate in single-mandate constituency of Terjola, but lost the race to UNM candidate.
Kakha Sikharulidze, who was Georgia’s deputy foreign minister in 2002-2005 and ambassador to the Czech Republic in 2006-2007, has been named as ambassador to Italy. Sikharulidze has been head of international news at PM Ivanishvili-funded Channel 9 since July, 2012.
Mikheil Ukleba, who was first deputy foreign minister in 1990s and minister for privatization in 1998-2001, has been named as ambassador to Ukraine. Ukleba was ambassador to China in 2005-2008 and ambassador to Bulgaria in 2008-2012.