Although “there is nothing to be welcomed” in appointing ex-member of the Georgian government in Ukraine’s new cabinet, “strategic partnership” between Tbilisi and Kiev is much more important and Georgia aims at intensifying cooperation with Ukraine, Georgian Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili said.
Alexander Kvitashvili, who served as healthcare minister for two years in ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration, was appointed as Ukraine’s healthcare minister on December 2. There have been reports in the Ukrainian media about possible appointment of Eka Zguladze, who was deputy interior minister in Georgia in 2006-2012, as Ukraine’s deputy interior minister.
Asked by journalists if the appointment affects bilateral relations, taking into view that many officials in Tbilisi “are not welcoming it,” the Georgian Foreign Minister responded: “There is really nothing to be welcomed.”
“I personally can say that I do not remember any special achievements of the person, appointed in [the Ukrainian government] post, but it is a sovereign right of any country to form a government and compose it as it deems necessary. Our task is to work for the future, to strengthen, enrich and intensify Georgian-Ukrainian relations,” Beruchashvili said.
Ukraine’s new healthcare minister, Alexander Kvitashvili, told Rustavi 2 TV that “unlike many politicians in Georgia, politicians in Ukraine consider reforms carried out in Georgia as success.”
The Georgian Foreign Minister also said that work is now underway to prepare Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili’s visit to Ukraine in the beginning of next year.
The Foreign Minister denied rumors in the Georgian press about possible replacement of Georgian ambassador to Ukraine, Mikheil Ukleba.
“I would like to ask everyone not to cause a stir over these issues, because Georgian-Ukrainian relations, strategic partnership between these two countries, especially against the background of new challenges in the region, are much more than the appointment of one or two ministers,” said Beruchashvili, who is visiting Brussels.
“We should intensify relations in all directions, it is very important; the European context also gives such opportunities and we have already launched a very important dialogue at a trilateral level – between Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, and we have to prepare issues in the context of upcoming Riga summit [of EU Eastern Partnership countries in May, 2015],” the Georgian Foreign Minister said.
When consultations about forming the new government were still ongoing among Ukrainian politicians, reports emerged last week about possible nomination of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and Georgia’s ex-justice minister Zurab Adeishvili for government posts in Ukraine – both are facing criminal charges in Georgia and are wanted by the Georgian authorities. Saakashvili said that he had been offered the post of vice-premier in Ukraine, but he declined; Saakashvili said that in case of accepting the post he had to take Ukrainian citizenship, automatically leading to losing the Georgian citizenship – something, he said, he did not want. Officials in Tbilisi warned that appointing those Georgian ex-officials in the Ukrainian government, who are facing criminal charges in Georgia, would have had negative consequences on the bilateral relations.