Foreign Policy denies “inaccuracy” in Georgian official’s quote

The screenshot of the article published on Foreign Policy on September 23, 2014., 24 Sep 2014 - 13:42, Tbilisi,Georgia

The United States (US) magazine of global politics, economics and ideas – Foreign Policy (FP) – is denying it printed an "inaccuracy” in a Georgian official’s quote in an article about Tbilisi’s offer to host a training centre for anti-Islamic State fighters.

Georgia’s Ambassador to the US Archil Gegeshidze accused FP journalist John Hudson of "misinterpretation” and "inaccuracy” in his quote said the magazine reported an idea he did not explicitly express in his quote.

The managing editor for news for Foreign Policy, Yochi Dreazen who edited the article said that he and the author of the article was responsible for the accuracy and the truth of the facts. "We don’t plan to make any corrections,” Dreazen said.

Gegeshidze was quoted in the article as saying the training center was "something we offered” to the US but the offer was "still under consideration.” He was also cited as saying the training center could host anti-IS fighters from multiple countries, including Syria.

After the story broke yesterday, Georgia’s Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze denied the report and told Georgian journalists in New York, where she is currently, that Georgia’s participation in anti-IS coalition will "only be of humanitarian nature.” Panjikidze is among the Georgian delegation led by the country’s Prime Minister that visited the UN headquarters.

"I categorically rule out any kind of military participation or training base in Georgia. We have not discussed it and our American partners know it,” Panjikidze said.

See also: Georgia’s State Security Council denies offer of Syrian rebel training centre

Earlier today the US Embassy in Georgia responded to a question posed by Georgian news agency InterPressNews, asking what kind of contribution could Georgia offer in terms of international efforts against terrorism.

"We believe the Georgian Prime and Defence Ministers’ offices will better answer what kind of contribution Georgia could give in this important international effort. For understanding the US official position, please read the US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s statement which he made during his visit in Tbilisi. Defense Secretary Hagel thanked Georgia for its contribution in international terrorism combats operations,” the press office of the US Embassy said.

During Hagel’s recent visit, after Georgia’s Defence Minister Irakli Alasania met with the American official, he was asked how Georgia can contribute to anti-IS coalition. Alasania responded: "Trainings, exercises – these are things that come to our mind.”

Almost immediately after the FP article was published yesterday, Georgia’s Defence Ministry issued a written statement that said: "Georgia, as a strategic partner of NATO and the compatible state with NATO was considering the format of participation in achieving the coalition’s objectives against terrorism (ISIS).”

"Together with international partners and coalition members [we] are discussing different ways to neutralise the threat of terrorism, which poses real threats to peaceful and democratic development in the region.”

"None of the options discussed with our allies does not consider sending Georgian military units in to the military operation zone. The final decision will be made at the highest political level,” the statement read.

The article, which was based on a statement by an anonymous American administration official, stated "if accepted, the offer could supplement the White House's existing plan to train 5,000 Syrian rebels in Saudi Arabia in the next year to fight against the extremists now controlling swaths of both Iraq and Syria.”

Earlier today, Reuters also published an article based on the source of the US officials that Georgia had offered to host a training center for US - backed Syrian rebels, but it was unclear whether Washington would take Tbilisi up on the offer.