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French Granted Georgian Citizenship, Set to Become Georgia’s Foreign Minister
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 21 Mar.'04 / 18:30

President Saakashvili granted on March 20 Georgian citizenship to Salome Zurabishvili, who is Ambassador of France to Georgia, as she is set to become Georgia’s Foreign Minister.

According to the recently adopted constitutional amendments Georgian President has a right to grant citizenship to a foreigner, as a result Salome Zurabishvili retains a French passport as well.

“This is a first case when Georgia grants duel citizenship to a foreigner,” Mikheil Saakashvili told reporters.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said on March 11 that he will appoint Ambassador of France to Georgia Salome Zurabishvili as country’s Foreign Minister.

Salome Zurabishvili was born in France in the Georgian family, which emigrated from Georgia in 20s of 20th centaury.

“Salome Zurabishvili speaks perfect Georgian and knows our history,” President Mikheil Saakashvili told reporters on March 11.

Georgian President’s decision to appoint French Ambassador as Foreign Minister follows his visit to France on March 8-10. Mikheil Saakashvili said that he discussed the issue with President Jacque Chirac and Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin during the visit.
 
Before appointment as France’s Ambassador to Georgia last year, Salome Zurabishvili has been a Director for strategic and international affairs at the Secretariat of National Defense at the French Prime Minister’s office since December 2001.

Previously, she was an Assistant Director for Strategic Affairs responsible for NATO, European security, and crisis management operations. She also was in the French delegation to NATO.

Rumors regarding Salome Zurabishvili’s possible appointment as Georgia’s Foreign Minister broke in late January before setting up a new cabinet. However, Tedo Japaridze was eventually appointed on the post.

Mikheil Saakashvili said that Tedo Japaridze is “an experienced diplomat and Georgian diplomatic missions will need his experience.”  

It is expected that the new Parliament, elected after March 28 elections, will discuss the President’s proposal in April.

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