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Opposition leader Alasania says his former team-mate might occur in awkward situation

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, Janaury 21
The head of the Free Democrats opposition party, former Defence Minister Irakli Alasania, said that his former ally Davit Zalkaliani - recently appointed as Georgia’s First Deputy Foreign Minister - will find himself in a very awkward situation if the so-called ‘Cables Case’ will be fully investigated.

The Cable Case is notorious for involving employees of the Defence Ministry of Georgia, who were arrested during Alasania’s tenure as Minister of Defence for misspending budgetary funds in the course of a deal with the Silknet Company. The trials over the case are still ongoing.

The former Defense Minister assessed the recent return of his former team-mate to the Foreign Ministry and noted that Zalkaliani’s appoint (and his agreement to occupy the post) came as a surprise to him.

"This was his independent decision,” Alasania said. “Zalkaliani has not been engaged in party activities for a year. Of course, I was surprised by his decision, because the investigation of the so-called Cable Case, which is politically ordered, has still not been concluded, and Zalkaliani will be in a very awkward position if the case is publicly concluded,” he said.

Yet according to Alasania, Davit Zalkaliani is a professional and will strengthen the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"We have not abandoned our hopes of regaining positions in the government because of personal incompatibility; we left the government because of incompatibility of principal values, since the court and the Prosecutor's Office were still controlled by the government. I do not know whether Mr Zalkaliani likes Murusidze's court or Shotadze’s Prosecutor's Office today, but I would like to point out that Davit is a real professional. I think that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be strengthened by him. We have friendly ties, but I don’t discuss these sorts of issues with him,” said Alasania.

In November 2014, Georgia’s then-Defence Minister Irakli Alasania was dismissed by former Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.

Alasania stated that some of his employees were dismissed because of his intentions to bring Georgia closer to NATO and not because of any alleged criminal activity. Consequently, Alasania, the leader of the Free Democrats, stated that Georgia’s “Euro-Atlantic course” was at risk.

Following the firing of Alasania for his statements over Georgia’s foreign priorities, several other politicians quit their posts; Foreign Minister Maya Panjikidze - who is Alasania’s sister-in-law - her deputy Davit Zalkaliani, who was a member of the Free Democrats at the time; the Minister of Georgia’s Integration to European and Euro-Atlantic space, Aleksi Petriashvili; as well as another deputy of Panjikidze, Tamar Beruchashvili.

They all shared the view that Georgia’s foreign course was at risk under the current state leadership.

However, shortly after making the statements, Beruchashvili changed her views and returned to power as Georgia’s new Foreign Minister, replacing Panjikidze.

After several months, Beruchasvili was replaced by Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who has just become Georgia’s new Prime Minister. Beruchashvili has become now Georgia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

When Parliament confirmed the new Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers at the end of last year, the former Deputy Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze was promoted to the post of Foreign Minister. Consequently, his position became vacant and was occupied by Zalkaliani.

In his statements, Zalkaliani has declared that he has severed ties with the Free Democrats party.