Georgian President in the US: Lost Chance to Boost Georgian Positions

The President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, has criticized the Georgian Ambassador to the US, Archil Gegeshidze, for “not accompanying his delegation throughout the diverse high-ranking meetings in New York and Washington DC” where the President conducted meetings during the last week of September.

Margvelashvili called on the Foreign Ministry to take adequate measures to demand the fulfilment of diplomatic etiquette by those diplomats that are breaching the law.

Gegeshidze replied that, according to the law, he was obliged to accompany the second delegation, headed by the PM of Georgia, and as such was unable to simultaneously be with both delegations in different US cities.

The President, assessing his visit to the US as successful, raised the issue of ‘ignorance’ of the Georgian Embassy in the US throughout his exclusive interview with Rustavi 2 TV’s talk-show ‘Archevani’ where he discussed the dissimilar aspects of Georgia’s internal and external political environment.

President Margvelashvili and PM Garibashvili both headed to the US to participate in different high-caliber meetings. As the presidential administration reported, the Georgian Ambassador to the US did not meet the President to accompany his delegation to different meetings in New York and Washington DC. The Ambassador claims he behaved correctly according to the Georgian Law on diplomatic services and did not breach the law in this instance. 

The argument between the Georgian government and the President occurred on the topic of participating in the UN General Assembly, the 70th anniversary of the international organization. The two parties, who had previously been united under one Georgian Dream coalition, decided that two official delegations would be led separately by the President and Prime Minister.

While in the US, PM Garibashvili attended diverse formats of official meetings and gave a speech at the UN General Assembly session on October 1. At the same time, some bilateral meetings within the framework of the Assembly were held with Georgia’s international partners.

At the same time, the President was in New York City and Washington DC, having been invited by Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaite, where he participated in the discussion – “Future of Eastern Europe: Strengthening the Role of Women”. The President also held several bilateral meetings and gave public speeches in both New York and Washington DC at various high-caliber think tanks and organizations, such as World Bank and Carnegie Endowment.

Despite President Margvelashvili’s oppositional stance toward the Georgian Dream, he believes his official visit to the US should have been utilized by the government as an opportunity to further deepen and kick off certain issues, such as talks on a Free Trade Agreement with the US.

The President also says that Georgia has disappeared from the US radars, a statement later bolstered by Georgian Foreign Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili who, when talking with Georgian media, stated he felt certain reason to self-criticize when US President Barack Obama did not mention Georgia in his speech at the UN General Assembly.

Steven Jones

08 October 2015 20:46