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President and PM at Odds over UN Visit, Again
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 19 Aug.'15 / 17:27

It would be better if the President, not the Prime Minister, addresses the UN General Assembly in New York in September, president’s foreign policy adviser Tengiz Pkhaladze said.

His remarks made at a news conference on August 19 came four days after prime minister’s office announced that PM Irakli Garibashvili will be visiting UN headquarters in late September to deliver a speech at the General Debate of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly.

Last year President Giorgi Margvelashvili and PM Irakli Garibashvili were at odds over which one of them should have attended the UN climate summit, which was held in New York on the sideline of the General Assembly. The PM addressed both the climate summit and the UN General Assembly last September.

“The President is the only highest ranking official, who is elected through popular vote. Because of that and also because he [President Margvelashvili] is highly authoritative at the international stage, it is important for the country to use this authoritativeness and also because the President will be in New York at the time of the UN General Assembly, it would have been better if he addressed the General Debates,”

Pkhaladze said that the government is aware of the President’s desire to address the UN, but “regrettably this position has not yet been shared” by the government. “Over a month is left before the General Debates and stemming from the country’s interests it would be better if the President’s position is accepted,” Pkhaladze added.

He said that President Margvelashvili will be in New York in late September to participate in a “high-level discussion on Eastern Partnership and empowerment of women.” Pkhaladze said that efforts are now ongoing “to maximally use the President’s visit to New York for further deepening of relations with the U.S.,” and to arrange meetings with representatives of “political circles and international organizations.”

President’s foreign policy adviser summoned press conference after the issue of planned simultaneous, but separate visits of the President and PM became widely discussed by the Georgian media in recent days.

Commenting on the issue on August 18, PM Garibashvili told journalists that he is going to New York “to do a job and not for sightseeing.” “Speculation” over the UN visit, he said, is “incomprehensible, not serious and insulting.”

“If someone wants to go to New York or to other city or country, it’s their choice, but we are doing a job,” the PM added.

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