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PM Speaks of U.S. Diplomat, Comments on Unlikely U.S. Visit
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2 Oct.'13 / 15:32

PM Ivanishvili said because of his intended pre-term resignation, tentatively planned for November, he probably won’t be able to pay a visit to the United States in the capacity of the Prime Minister.

He, however, said it will not be a “tragedy” and “it will not harm” anything.

Responding to a question on this issue during a lengthy meeting with television journalists on October 2, Ivanishvili also spoke about his personal “friendship” with U.S. ambassador to Georgia, Richard Norland, whom he praised as “a highly professional and very honest” person.

Ivanishvili said that he was offered to pay the visit to the United States in November.

“When last time I met Richard [Norland], I remember him asking me what will now happen with [this visit] because of my [planned] early departure [from PM’s post]. I told him November and even named the tentative date [of intended resignation]. I don’t think that’s a tragedy and I told the same to Richard,” he said, adding that his government further deepened ties with Georgia’s “major strategic partner.”

He was mainly referring familiarly to the U.S. ambassador with his first name and said that he was doing so because he has “really good relations with Mr. Norland.”

Ivanishvili said “we are very lucky” to have Richard Norland as U.S. ambassador to Georgia.

Ivanishvili, who practices yoga, then recalled how once he had offered the U.S. ambassador services of a yoga teacher, but the diplomat declined on the grounds that it would have been a corruption.

“He is very efficient, highly professional, very honest person. No one from the [United] National Movement should have any doubt that we are exaggerating [in this assessment]. I remember once I offered him a yoga teacher, but he warned that it looked like a corruption – that [shows] what kind of a man he is. He’s very vigorous, we are of the same age – he’s few months older than me; we often meet each other and work lot together; he is active with all the ministries, in all the spheres and knows what is going on in Georgia,” Ivanishvili said.

He also said that he shares “regret” of the U.S. ambassador that the visit “probably will no longer be made possible.”

“I told Richard that it [paying visit] is not essential. We’ve done everything possible to further improve relations [between the U.S. and Georgia],” Ivanishvili said, adding that it was made possible thanks to a huge contribution of Ambassador Norland. “I also spared no efforts and our team also worked very well.”

Shortly after winning the 2012 parliamentary elections, Ivanishvili said he was going to pay his first foreign trip to the United States, but then he said that plans were changed and made his first visit in the capacity of the PM to Brussels.

He said on October 2 that UNM and its lobbyists were building false narrative about Georgia and its new government in the western capital, but it was no longer working. Ivanishvili said that one of the reasons why he delayed the U.S. trip was that he did not want to answer in Washington on questions built on UNM’s narrative.

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