On August 6, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia named Tea Akhvlediani, 45, Deputy Health Minister as the State Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality, Georgia’s main body overseeing Russian-occupied regions.
Akhlediani, a long-serving diplomat, joined Georgia’s Foreign Ministry in 1997. She served as Georgia’s Ambassador to Estonia during 2014-19.
From 2008 to 2014 Akhvlediani led the European Integration Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She played one of the key roles in drafting and negotiating the Association Agreement with the European Union, that Georgia sealed with then 28-member bloc in 2014.
In 2004-08, she served as the advisor at the Georgian Embassy in Brussels.
Presenting Akhvlediani at the Government meeting on Thursday, Georgian Prime Minister hailed her vast experience in European and conflict affairs.
PM Gakharia then said de-occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia should be achieved through peaceful reconciliation, adding that the “chief mission of the Ministry is to successfully lead and complete the process of reconciliation with the Abkhaz and Ossetian brothers.”
On her part, Minister Akhvlediani said “we are ready for dialogue, we are concerned with the fate of population living on both sides of dividing line, and we are interested in improving their socio-economic conditions and establishing direct contacts.”
She also said Georgia strives to “de-isolate people isolated with barbed wires and physical barriers.”
“In this process, we are ready for an open dialogue, which will involve our international partners and support and close, intensive cooperation with the civil society,” Akhvlediani added.
Akhvlediani’s predecessor, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, who led the Ministry during 2016-20, was appointed as the Georgian Ambassador to Austria. She also serves as Georgia’s representative to Vienna-based international organizations.