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There Is a New and Real Chance for Georgia to Become a Contemporary European Country

I Came Here to Build Together a New-Style European Ministry

Address by Mrs. Salomé Zurabishvili, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia after being presented by Mikhael Saakashvili, President of the Republic of Georgia to the Diplomatic Community of Tbilisi in the Georgian MFA. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Website, Tbilisi, March 23, 2004.

Salomé Zurabishvili, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. Tbilisi, March 22, 2004. MFA Photo.

 Salomé Zurabishvili ( MFA Photo, Tbilisi)

Greetings to my new and old colleagues.

Today is truly a happy day for me, which I have never hoped to live up to and of which I have never dreamt before. Earlier, during my office as Ambassador of France in Georgia, this dream was to a certain extent part of reality. However, I never hoped this day would ever come true.

The President of Georgia as well as the President of France have put a great confidence in me by deciding my destiny this way, without even asking much of my opinion. Perhaps they knew that deep within my heart I would agree with them, for it is inadmissible not to take your stand by the country for which your ancestors used to fight and shed blood. I come therefore with a great infusion of hope. If not this hope that there is a new and real chance for Georgia to become a contemporary European country, I would never come to Georgia. I left my children there and a flourishing life. I am not as young as other ministers and I am here because I believe, not only hope but also believe that we are in the process of the construction of a new country.

  • I come as a free person.

Even in France, where I was part of the diplomatic corps within 30 years, everyone knows, and the current Minister who is my friend that I have a very bad temper and I am free in everything. I never do what I don't want to or what I don't believe in, and I think for this very trait of character I was nominated.

France gave me its consent and without this consent I would not come to Georgia. France decorated me with the Order of the Legion of Honor and appointed me as an Ambassador to Georgia, both the expression of tremendous trust in me. France sheltered my family during of so many years, for which I owe it a huge debt of gratitude. I would have never taken such step had it not given me its express consent.

However, I still remain to be a free person. I have not received any orders or instructions by anyone. Mr. Chirac himself assured me of the liberty of all my actions, reminding that behind me stands France wishing to extend a helping hand to Georgia.

  • Let me assert my colleagues that I came here to build together a new-style European Ministry.

It is not my aim to dismiss or make anyone redundant. To anyone, who is professional among you and wishes to join me in building this ministry, I shall offer my cooperation and membership of my team. However, I want you to know that no one will gain access to the ministry through money or pull.

I shall accept no instructions, nor from the President, who promised me absolute freedom in the policy of cadres, I don't like this word. I shall team up with people, probably including my acquaintances and friends whom I trust and who have proved to me that they are and will remain to be professionals and with whom I shall do a voluminous array of work.

I would like to promise my old colleagues from the diplomatic corps that my door will always be open to them. I know how important it is to work with them in order that further we could build the relations with their respective countries, of which the President has already spoken. I don't want to repeat these priorities. Our Ministry is designed to serve these priorities to insure that Georgia could appear on the international arena as a contemporary country. When I was leaving France, on November 3, Georgia's image in France and Europe was far different from what it is now within the time-span of 3-4 months, which sends an important signal of what can be done in order to keep up this course.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).