President Giorgi Margvelashvili wants the United States to appoint a special representative for Georgia for “contributing to U.S.-Georgia cooperation and for more rapid and effective implementation of joint initiatives.”
The idea was first voiced at the meeting of Vice President Mike Pence and Giorgi Margvelashvili on August 1. The President’s administration said in its press release of the meeting that Margvelashvili introduced the idea to the Vice President, who “found the President’s initiative interesting.”
“All this (US support to Georgia) will work more efficiently if we elevate our cooperation to a higher level, to the status of a special representative,” the Georgian president noted in his August 3 interview with the Voice of America.
“This is a standard practice when relations between two countries is given special intensity and special importance,” he added.
President Margvelashvili’s initiative was met with skepticism among the ruling party lawmakers and the government, who said they were not informed of the initiative.
“I personally do not see the need to introduce a new element in the U.S.-Georgia relations, but if the president offers it, we can discuss it. But I have to underline once again, that it was a surprise, members of the Government have not been informed of the initiative,” said Victor Dolidze, the State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.
The initiative, however, was positively assessed by representatives of the parliamentary opposition parties.
“This can be welcomed. The United States has a special representative for Ukraine, for example, and we could also discuss the possibility of the appointment of such representative in the context of the Russian occupation [of Georgia],” said MP Tinatin Bokuchava of the United National Movement.
In the words of European Georgia’s MP Giorgi Tugushi, “any format that will do more to promote the issue of Georgia and will draw more attention of our American partners to Georgia’s problems, including occupation, is very important and good.”
Tengiz Pkhaladze, Georgian President’s Foreign Affairs Secretary, made additional clarifications on the initiative on August 2, saying that the appointment of special representatives is “a proven practice” and “does in no way diminish the role of the ambassador, the Foreign Ministry or any incumbent diplomat.”