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Alasania addresses Parliamentary Defense and Security Committee

By Keti Arjevanidze
Friday, March 22
Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania met MPs on the Parliamentary Defense and Security Committee on March 21st. At the meeting Alasania discussed the current reforms in the Defense Ministry as well as future initiatives in the Ministry. Defense Minister also answered MP’s questions.

Minister Alasania emphasized a gradual plan of infrastructural development. He said a special committee is studying the social conditions and infrastructure conditions of Georgian soldiers.

According to Alasania, most military bases are in poor condition, but the Ministry is carrying out a study to solve the problem and is preparing a gradual plan for infrastructural development. Alasania mentioned that he has held meetings with Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and Minister of Finance Nodar Khaduri regarding this issue. However, Alasania also appealed to the Defense and Security Committee to support their initiative so that the Ministry of Finance could allocate non-budgetary money.

Alasania said the resumption of trade relations with Russia has reduced the potential for war between the two countries. Despite that Alasania did mention that in Abkhazia and South Ossetia new military facilities have appeared. "Intelligence analysis shows that Georgia should permanently be in alert mode." Alasania said.

Alasania also touched on Georgia’s foreign relations and stressed that integration with Euro-Atlantic structures still remains a priority. Alasania admitted that much was done by the previous government in this direction, before adding that Georgia will continue contributing to NATO operations in Afghanistan beyond 2014, when the ISAF combat mission is due to end.

The Defense Minister also spoke about the shortcomings of the previous government. He highlighted “elite corruption” existing within the Ministry of Defense, including misspent money. The issue caused discontent among the United National Movement (UNM) members. According to United National Movement MP Davit Darchiashvili, Alasania's insinuations about “elite corruption” are incorrect.

United National Movement MP Nugzar Tsiklauri welcomed Alasania’s admission about the UNM government's achievements in terms of defense.

Georgia’s participation in the ISAF mission and its importance was one of the main issues which US Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland mentioned while visiting Parliament. He thanked Georgia for cooperating with the U.S. in Afghanistan. Norland stated that U.S. cooperation with Georgia will continue “regardless of which politician or political party is in power.”