Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, accused President Saakashvili of deliberately dragging out appointing those nine new ambassadors whose nominations were confirmed by the Parliament.
Nine ambassadorial nominations, among them for diplomatic posts in Washington and Brussels, were confirmed by the Parliament on February 20. New ambassadorial nominations were made by President Saakashvili, as required by the law, but the candidates were actually selected by PM Ivanishvili’s government.
“I could not have imagined such an irresponsible step from the President and his team. If he says that he respects the people’s choice and the Parliament, elected by the people, then what hinders him to sign appointment of ambassadors confirmed by the Parliament?” the Foreign Minister said while speaking at Rustavi 2 TV’s political talk show, Position, on March 15.
She said that law was not setting any deadlines for the President for signing the appointments. “So he can drag this process out even longer,” Panjikidze said.
“Even if he signs it today further procedures before an ambassador finally takes office will require some more time meaning that actually we might not have new ambassadors till summer,” Panjikidze said.
She said that currently Georgia had no ambassador in total of fourteen countries, adding that it was not contributing to an effective implementation of foreign policy goals.
“This element of cohabitation [between government and the President], which is so important for our country and which is related to the successful implementation of the foreign policy goals, including in respect of the EU, NATO, de-occupation – all these require strong diplomatic corps, but the President is artificially creating obstacles not to let the diplomatic corps work properly. I deem it to be anti-state action,” Panjikidze said.
“And it happens at the time when the Vilnius summit [EU Eastern Partnership] is approaching, at the time when we are on the final stage of working on the text of Association Agreement with the EU,” the Foreign Minister said, adding that she was expecting work on the text of the Association Agreement with the EU to be finalized this month; then, she said, EU-member states will have to approve the text before its initialing.