The candidate for defense minister, former PM Irakli Gharibashvili was heard at a joint meeting of four committees as part of a vote of confidence for the renewed composition of the government. Members of the United National Movement and European Georgia have not attended committee hearings in protest.
Gharibashvili proposes producing all weapons, except nuclear
By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, September 6
Gharibashvili started his speech on the parliamentary podium thanking the former Minister of Defense, Levan Izoria for his productive work during the last (almost) 3 years.
According to the candidate for the post of Defense Minister of Georgia, only sustainable and effective defense systems can address the challenges facing the country: “The goal of the Ministry of Defense of Georgia is to establish sustainable and effective defense systems in order to cope with the existing threats, protect Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are guided by democratic principles and Western values.”
He emphasized that strengthening Georgia's defense capabilities is not aimed against anyone and only serves to enhance security in the region: ”I believe that this should be in the interest of both the region and the international community. Cooperation with NATO and partner forces is a key cornerstone of the development of our defense forces,” Gharibashvili said.
“We have made great progress in our relations with NATO,” said the former PM at a joint sitting of parliamentary committees. According to him, a joint training center was opened in Tbilisi during his term as PM. He noted that Georgia is making progress in this direction, and country should focus on getting closer and being compatible with NATO standards.
However, as for the political decision regarding NATO membership, he said, it does not depend on Georgia. Candidate for the post of Defense Minister also stressed the importance of having realistic expectations; he remembered the triumphal prospects that were created in 2008 and resulted into disappointment caused from August war when Georgian military lost equipment worth up to billion Gel. In his estimation, this was the result of unreasonable policy and work.
The Defense Ministerial candidate marked out 3 main topics that he plans to address once in the government. First of them is the completion of the mandatory military service reform that Izoria initiated. The second topic is the state of soldiers: “I will focus on order, discipline, their nutrition, their equipment, their armaments, we will improve their living and social conditions, whether it be a salary increase or decent insurance,” said Gharibashvili.
He also stressed out the development of infrastructure, promising to monitor to have the modern, world-class infrastructure at bases. Third concern coincides to be the dream of former PM:” My dream is to revive the military industry,”confessed Gharibashvili.
According to the Defense Ministerial candidate, Georgia has the potential for Georgia to produce not only bullets but also all kinds of weapons. He thinks that given the problem of occupied territories in Georgia, strengthening the army and developing military industry is critically important. Gharibashvili also noted that he doesn’t mean it against anyone or anything.
“I found out that the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and others spend tens of millions of dollars on purchasing bullets each year. It is one of the main problems. One of the main projects I had during my time in the Interior Ministry and later as PM was to build a bullied enterprise in Georgia. I think we have to produce all kinds of weapons, except nuclear, I think we will be able to do that,”-said Defense Ministerial candidate.
Speaking on the issue of compulsory military service Gharibashvili mentioned political union "Girchi", according to him, authorities should not pay attention to their anti-state, anti-national, provocative initiatives: “I no longer want to respond to the insults of worthless people. Representatives of the sect have already responded. I will tell you that if our country came to this day, it was because of our faith and on our army, our immortal warriors.” Gharibashvili announced, that “these unworthy people” are attempting to destroy these two fundamentals, yet they constitute only 0.1% of society. Gharibashvili also said that if he was appointed as a minister, he would immediately start working on a draft law that would "resolve the issue."
He also mentioned one of his main plans that would be to stir up the national patriotic spirit.”One of our biggest pillars must be based on the strength of our troops. I think we should start promoting this issue from kindergartens, schools. I know that the manual has already been developed by the Ministry and will be completed soon. We must maximally activate and foster national patriotic spirit. That will be my whole concern,” said Irakli Gharibashvili.
Zurab Japaridze, leader of the political union “Girchi”, responded to the statement made by Irakli Gharibashvili in the parliament on Facebook: ”You recently said in Parliament that biblical freedom is a sect that undermines statehood and national security. I have been watching you for eight years and I know that it doesn't make sense to explain security or economics to you. So, I hope that this is just a standard and already traditional bookbinding aimed at the “Asaval-Dasavali” readers' electorate. But if you take steps to make the young people slaves again - you will be left wrapped in Asaval-Dasavali papers at the entrance to the Ministry of Defense.”
“Girchi” founded the Religious Organization in April 2017. According to Japaridze, as for March 2019, about 15 000 young people have been released from compulsory military service with the help of the mentioned religious organization “Christian, Evangelical, Protestant Church of Georgia - Biblical Freedom.”