BRITISH-GEORGIAN TIES
04 July, 2013
BRITISH-GEORGIAN TIES
Interview with Ambassador David Moran shortly before his departure from Georgia

David Moran arrived in Tbilisi in January, 2013 to assume the role of Charge d’Affaires. Georgian Journal is grateful to him for accepting our offer, which turned out to be our mutual wish. He gave us an interview to sum up his 6-months stay here, just before he left Georgia.
The Ambassador represents Her Majesty the Queen and the UK government in the country to which he is appointed.
He is responsible for the work of the Embassy and its Consulate, including political work, trade and investment, press and cultural relations, and visa and consular services.
G.J: Why are you leaving so soon?
D.M: It’s an exceptional case. My predecessor left early to go on maternity leave and I came to bridge the time between two full-time ambassadors.
G.J: How would you sum up these six months spent in our country?
D. M: It has been a very pleasant experience to live in Georgia. Of course, it would be better to stay for three years, but six months is enough to get to know and like your country. It has given me a taste and desire to come back. It has also been stimulating to be a part of this very interesting time in Georgia’s political development, working with Georgian government officials, NGOs, and journalists. If your assignment lasts only for six months, you have to decide what to do in that time and what your priorities should be. I am pleased that we were able to make progress in a number of things, including promoting British-Georgian trade links and bilateral political relations. For example, there have been several visits by ministers and senior officials. David Usupashvili was in London recently for talks with Lord Wallace. We have also established a British Business Group in Tbilisi, which will help us boost trade between our two countries. I often say that our trade is at a lower level than it should be. There is plenty of potential to do more. Therefore, creation of this business group is one of the means of pushing the trade forward. I delivered several speeches in Britain in front of business people, who are potentially interested in the Georgian market, and we have hosted trade missions. Hopefully, all this means that this year, the trade figures will be much higher than last year.
G.J: Please, tell our reader briefly about your professional background.
D.M: I joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1985 and have served as British Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. I have also been posted to Nairobi, Moscow and Paris. My next posting will be as British Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
G.J: What are the priorities of the embassy and will they change after your mission is over?
D.M: Our priorities are consistent. We support Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic orientation and your ambitions to get closer to Europe. It will not change. It was the same before I came and it will be the same after I leave. We will also continue to support conflict resolution activities. I have already mentioned trade. The British Council also does important cultural and educational work. The embassy has several teams which do important work in these areas, and for me it was particularly satisfying to work so closely with Georgian ministers on encouraging political cohabitation during the transition time in your country.
G.J: Could you compare the cohabitation in Georgia and other countries, which have undergone it?
D.M: I was in charge of relations with France when they had a cohabitation of this kind – the country had the President from one party and the Prime Minister from another. I am sure that our French friends will tell you that this process is never easy, but I think that the French example and the Georgian example show that it is possible to have different political traditions and still find the common ground, which you need to work peacefully and positively together. Thus, that’s up to Georgians.
If the trend of working together constructively continues and grows, you will have every chance of success.
G.J: Why was this year’s Queen’s Birthday party full of pomp and circumstance?
D.M: It was designed to celebrate different aspects of Britain. You saw the traditional aspect like the Loyalty Toast to the Queen which happens at every Queen’s Birthday Party, and the Royal Marine Band, which we managed to get here for this occasion. They perform around the world and I genuinely enjoyed having them in Georgia. But we also wanted to showcase contemporary Britain. So, the event focused on creativity, on showing Britain today, which combines traditions with something more modern. For example, we played some of our contemporary music at the evening. We also had three Minis on the street outside the hotel to showcase famous British products - in this case iconic cars - which are up-to-date, very attractive and part of the 21st century Britain.
G.J: What is your impression of Georgian media?
D.M: It is very lively and I welcome that. There are number of ways in which a country promotes its democratic culture. Independent judiciary and protection of basic freedoms and rights of individuals is essential. But the media is a key factor as well. Journalists play an absolutely pivotal role in reporting events and holding both government officials and bureaucrats to account. I support their sustained independence!
G.J: Your Prime Minister David Cameron said in January of 2013 that he is ready to hold referendum on the membership of the EU if the Conservative Party comes to power in the next general elections in Great Britain. There have been many debates regarding the membership in EU’s precursor European Economic Community as well. How would you comment it?
D.M: There are lively debates about Europe in Britain - as in many European countries. That’s good because the European Union needs to be democratically accountable to the citizens in all its 27 member states. The British Government is in favor of continued membership – it is in our national interest. The principles underlying EU reform should include flexibility and competitiveness to ensure that European Common Market is better equipped to meet the economic and other challenges that we face. We will continue to work with our European partners to develop the European Union in ways which reflect the interests and ambitions of all its members.
G.J: You are a professional blues pianist. Should our reader expect something from you at your farewell party?
D.M: You never know – my Georgian friends have been kind enough to listen to me on several occasions! I have even had the good fortune to sing together with the Brazilian Ambassador in Tbilisi once or twice. He is a very talented musician. One of Georgia’s many pleasures is its people, who love music. When I attended recent concert of traditional Georgian music, I was amazed by the variety of musical traditions in different regions. I am still learning more about that. I truly liked it. I have also heard some good modern musicians who combine traditional musical technique with up-to-date technology, producing a very interesting mix. Georgian music, along with all other local pleasures – food, wine, scenery, people – make it difficult for me to leave!
G.J: I hope you will come back, at least as a tourist.
D.M: Well, there are many ways I can come back; for work or for pleasure. Potentially, I can even come back as an ambassador for full three years at some time in the future, but it depends on my government.
Georgian Journal would like to thank British Ambassador Mr. Moran and his spouse Mrs. Carol Marquis for the wonderful Queen’s Birthday Party, as well as for the warm reception at the embassy; it wishes him all the best in his career and personal life and hopes that the links that have been established between us will develop and deepen during the mission of Mr. Moran’s successors.
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