Georgian ambassador to Ukraine still in Tbilisi: ‘He’ll return when needed’
Georgian Ambassador to Ukraine Teimuraz Sharashenidze is still in Tbilisi following his recall from Ukraine on 8 May for consultations after Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, was appointed head of the National Reform Council of Ukraine.
More than three months have passed since then, leaving Georgia’s diplomatic mission to Ukraine without a leader.
The opposition states that this decision by the government can only damage the diplomatic situation between the two countries and that such a break in relations with their strategic partner only plays into the interests of Russia.
“It’s a shame that Georgia’s ambassador to Ukraine is still in Tbilisi. That doesn’t help the situation”, – said Ighor Dolhov, the Ukrainian ambassador to Georgia.
Georgian Minister for Internal Affairs David Zalkaliani says the fact that Georgia has recalled its ambassador to Ukraine for nearly four months does not threaten the relationship between the two countries.
“There is no risk of that. I have a very close relationship with my colleague in their ministry of internal affairs. I’m always in touch with him. The Ukrainians know our position on this matter, and when we feel it is necessary, of course he will return”, – said Zalkaliani.
“The recall of their ambassador from Ukraine was too hasty. It doesn’t help to strengthen the relationship between our countries and it doesn’t mesh with our policy of cooperation with a strategic partner”, said Valeriy Chechelashvili.
Roman Gotsiridze, an MP for the opposition party United National Movement, called this strain in the relations between Georgia and Ukraine a “crime”.
“The recall of the ambassador is quite problematic for bilateral relations”, said Sergi Kapanadze, leader of the European Georgia party. “This does nothing to strengthen a good relationship between the two countries. On the contrary, the ruling party, Georgian Dream, has done everything they could to minimize that relationship in the last few years. We can’t recall a single high-level visit to Ukraine, which is just more evidence of this nonsensical policy”.
Mikheil Saakashvili was appointed head of the National Reform Council by the president of Ukraine on 7 May. This action upset the Georgian government, since Saakashvili has been charged with crimes in absentia in Georgia and is under investigation.
The Georgian ambassador to Ukraine, Teimuraz Sharashenidze was recalled on consultation on 8 May. He arrived in Tbilisi 11 May and has remained there since then. It is unknown when Sharashenidze will return to work