Alasania: Decision not been made regarding troops to Mali
By Ana Robakidze
Wednesday, April 3
Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania announced at a meeting with journalists that the final decision on whether to send Georgian military servicemen to Mali still has to be made. The letter inviting Georgia to participate in Mali mission was received from the European Union in December 2012. The country has already expressed its political consent to the EU but the details have not been agreed on yet.
“The decision on sending Georgia’s military sub-division or representatives of the armed forces has not been made yet.” Alasania told journalists at a meeting held within the framework of the project “Georgian government for opened governance”.
The minister also spoke about the planned military trainings in the Georgian army. Georgia will continue joint drills together with its U.S partners and also other countries from the region may also be involved in the training next year. Also, intense meetings are planned with NATO representatives. According to the Defense Minister, representatives of the North Atlantic Council will visit Georgia. The visit will take place presumably by the end of the year or in the beginning of 2014.
The ministry continues to promote the military industry in the country. Alasania believes that Georgia has great potential and stressed the importance of testing armored vehicles produced in Georgia to make sure the vehicles can provide the necessary level of safety for military personnel.
“The armor is being examined. A very serious, fire test of the armored vehicles will be conducted in the near future in order to decide whether we’ll continue the program or not, according to performance and the finances the equipment demand.” Alsania said, adding that elements of PR and impatience will only harm the possibility to develop the local military industry.
Only after several tests it will be decide whether Georgia will start the mass production of armored vehicles or not.
Changes in the structure of the military command shall be carried out in the nearest future and an Eastern and Western command will be created. The command will be able to act independently in terms of conflict and escalation and also have a higher resistance against attacks.
Alasania was also asked questions about the Russian occupation. The minister mentioned Moscow does not seem to be changing its policy regarding Georgia's territorial integrity and occupation forces still remain in the conflict region, therefore, keeping the Georgian side in a position of constant readiness.
The Minister is looking forward to the results that renewed trade negotiations with Russia can bring.
“I want to mention that the negotiations launched with Russia in trade issues give hope that the aggressive rhetoric between the countries will decrease. There is some hope that we may move to the phase of working relations that will lower the possibility of military escalation.” Alasania said.
The minister was asked about the celebration of the Independence Day. The Minister refrained from revealing the details, but announced that preparation for May 26th is under way, having the whole government engaged. Alasania promised that the celebration of the day will be impressive.