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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 08:32 GMT 09:32 UK
Georgian foreign minister sacked
Salome Zurabishvili. File photo
Ms Zurabishvili had also served as France's envoy to Georgia
Georgian Foreign Minister Salome Zurabishvili has been sacked, following criticism of her management style.

Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli said he made the decision after consulting President Mikhail Saakashvili.

Ms Zurabishvili has been accused by some MPs and diplomats of a lack of co-ordination with Georgia's embassies and a lack of respect for parliament.

She said her sacking was the "agony" of the old system that was overthrown by the so-called Rose Revolution in 2003.

Correspondents say Ms Zurabishvili's dismissal is not expected to change the pro-Western orientation of the government.

Mr Saakashvili came to power after tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to peacefully protest against what they had described as the flawed results of a parliamentary election.

'Aggressive action'

The prime minister said he decided to act amid growing pressure on Ms Zurabishvili to resign.

Protesters with rose. File photo
Roses symbolised the protesters' peaceful intentions

"After consulting the president and the parliament, this decision was made," Mr Nogaideli told reporters.

Several lawmakers have recently accused her of keeping parliament in the dark about her activities.

And Georgia's ambassadors in Ukraine, Russian and the US have recently voiced strong criticism of Ms Zurabishvili's management style.

"We cannot allow such a situation when the foreign ministry has a deficit of co-ordinating, when embassies do not know how to act because they receive no orders," parliament speaker Nino Burdzhanadze said.

French ambassador

Ms Zurabishvili rejected the accusations, saying her dismissal was "a well-planned, aggressive action, aimed at restoring the old system of values".

"This is the old system's agony, this is aimed against President Saakashvili and the democratic values we made the Rose Revolution to affirm," she said.

Ms Zurabishvili was a surprise appointment when she took over at the foreign ministry in 2004.

An ethnic Georgian, she was born and raised in France to emegre parents.

She served as an ambassador of France to Georgia, but when President Saakashvili began forming a new government following the 2003 revolution, he asked French President Jacques Chirac to let Georgia borrow her for the post of foreign minister.

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