TBILISI, DFWatch — Salome Samadashvili, Georgia’s ambassador to the EU, claims 18 ambassadors will be replaced by the new government, but Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze says the number is only five.
Samadashvili on Friday told Maestro TV that she was told that the new government is planning to replace many ambassadors, including herself.
“I have never written my letter of resignation, but as far as I know, a decree will be issued in a few days regarding the dismissal of ambassadors,” she said, adding that there is nothing strange in a new government wanting to appoint its own candidates to diplomatic posts.
But she says in her case it is unacceptable to claim that she has been narrowly representing the interests of her own party, even absurd.
Countries and bodies which may get a new Georgian ambassador include the Czech Republic, the UK, Belgium, Luxemburg, Hungary, the Council of Europe and the EU.
Viktor Dolidze, who chairs the parliamentary committee on Euro-integration, today denied that ambassadors are being dismissed for political reasons.
“I suspect that there is another motive. This is a delicate issue for me,” he told journalists on Friday. “I have been ambassador. Many of them are my friends and colleagues. But if it turns into political motivation, it is very bad.”
Dolidze says the government has sent letters to Georgian ambassadors and asked them to focus on the political environment which was here in Georgia during the election time and to put political honor before their own political interests.
“It’s a pity that all of them haven’t done so,” he added.
According to Georgian law, ambassadors are appointed and fired by the president, which is why a while ago, the new government attempted to negotiate with the president about releasing detained former officials in return for proposing its own candidates for ambassadors.
Only one ambassador, Ambassador to the US Kote Gabashvili, has left his position so far. He has said shortly after parliamentary election was over that he was planning to resign.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry in the end of 2012 handed the Security Council a list of ambassadors who the new government thinks ought to be replaced or who have handed in their resignation.
The Security Council has not commented.
Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze on Friday said that only five ambassadors have been fired: the ones to OSCE, Austria, US, Latvia, Czech Republic and Hungary.
She said Georgia has diplomatic missions to 65 countries and that the new government has decided to change ambassadors in ‘important places.’
“The information about firing 18 ambassadors is incorrect,” Maia Panjikidze said, explained that ambassadors whose tour of duty is ending will leave. This process is not politically motivated, she said.
The minister said that they already know who the new candidates will be, but she thinks it is not correct to name them yet.