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President, Govt Locked in Dispute over UN Climate Summit Visit
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 8 Sep.'14 / 17:16

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated on Monday that it wants President Giorgi Margvelashvili to revise his decision and not to participate in the UN Climate Summit in New York on September 23 as PM Irakli Garibashvili, who will be addressing UN General Assembly, will also be attending the same event.
 
In early July PM’s office announced that PM Garibashvili would be addressing annual UN General Debate in September and would also be participating in number of events on the sideline of the UN General Assembly. 

On the same day President’s office announced that President Margvelashvili accepted invitation from the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who invited world leaders to the UN headquarters in New York for Climate Summit on September 23, on the eve of opening of the UN General Debate.

Two months later, on September 1, the Foreign Ministry, however, announced that PM Garibashvili will be addressing the Climate Summit, questioning rationality of President’s participation in the same event.

Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, said on September 1 that having two delegations – one of the President and another one led by the PM, would be “embarrassing”.

“I do not see anything embarrassing in that,” Margvelashvili responded on September 5, when asked about the Foreign Minister’s remarks. He also said that his plan to visit New York still stands.

Panjikidze also said earlier this month that she had no chance to discuss the issue personally with the President and would have tried to do it on the sideline of NATO summit in Wales. When asked after the summit if she had spoken on the issue with the President, Panjikidze told the Georgian Public Broadcaster on September 5 that the Georgian delegation was completely focused on the NATO-related issues in Wales and had no time for discussing other topics with the President.

On September 8 the Foreign Ministry reiterated its position that it would be inappropriate for the country to send “two leaders” at the same UN event in New York.

First Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani said that the Climate Summit is one of the “parallel, side events” of the UN General Assembly and for that reason “our logic is that Georgia is not a country, which can afford itself being represented by two high-ranking leaders at the UN General Assembly and at one of its side events”.

“We believe that there should be one delegation at the UN General Assembly – decision has already been made that the PM will be going there,” Zalkaliani said. 

“Two delegations will be a very seriously damaging factor for the image of our country,” he said. “I want to express hope that there will be a communication and the Foreign Minister will personally lay out our arguments to the President and I am sure that if this communication is held we will take a decision that will not be damaging for our country’s image.”

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