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Ex-Georgian president says will coordinate Ukraine arms supplies issue

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who was appointed Friday as the chairman of Ukraine's international consultative reform council, has said he will coordinate the issue of arms supplies to Kiev.

"Now it is most important to help Ukraine with weapons. Over the next several days, I will be coordinating this," Saakashvili told a Ukrainian TV channel.

US Department of State Spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Friday the arms supplies to the war-torn Ukraine are still on the table even after this week's signing of the new Minsk agreements.

In comments to his appointment to the post, Saakashvili, who earlier refused to obtain the Ukrainian citizenship, said: "I am a free politician and a Georgian citizen, all other proposals on getting Ukraine's citizenship were not fitted in a whole strategy, and of course, I should return to my country," he said.

The decree published on Friday says that the council will be a consultative agency under the Ukrainian president tasked to provide proposals and recommendations on reforms in Ukraine on the basis of the best international experience.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Saakashvili, who has unique knowledge and experience and has in fact worked as a free-lance advisor on Ukrainian reforms, has finally received his official status.

President Poroshenko said Saakashvili would become "Ukraine's representative abroad and at the same time the representative of the international community in Ukraine."

Earlier reports said Saakashvili could head the country's newly created Anti-Corruption Bureau. However, he was not included on the published list of candidates for the post.

Saakashvili was the president of Georgia for two consecutive terms from January 2004 to November 2013. In his home country, Saakashvili is accused of embezzling state funds. In September, the property of the ex-president and his family members was arrested. Saakashvili's personal bank accounts in Georgia were also arrested.

Eka Beselia, a leader of the Georgian Dream coalition, who chairs the human rights committee of the Georgian parliament, said that the Ukrainian authorities' decision to appoint Saakashvili to the post was a "mistake."

"Georgia has an especially warm and friendly attitude to the Ukrainian people and Ukraine. I don't know what reasonable advice Mikhail Saakashvili can give to this country's president," she said, commenting on the Ukrainian media reports about Saakashvili's appointment.

"Political tastes differ," Georgian parliament's vice speaker Zurab Abashidze said for his part. "If I were the Ukrainian president, I would not want to have Mikheil Saakashvili as an advisor."

In December 2014, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said that in 2015 he would pay a visit to Kiev to discuss bilateral cooperation issues with Ukraine's leadership. He also said then that in Kiev he wasn't going to meet with the former Georgian officials - members of the current government of Ukraine. And in March last year, the Georgian prime minister said the current Ukrainian government should not to listen to Saakashvili's advice. "Having in this crisis situation such an adventurer for an advisor is fraught with disastrous consequences for Ukraine," he said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Kiev, 14Feb15]

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