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Compulsory military service re-considered

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, August 9
Newly appointed Minister of Defence of Georgia, Levan Izoria, says that the decision on the abolition of compulsory military service is under discussion since his predecessor rejected the notion of compulsory service in June.

According to him, the issue needs to be studied better.

“More time is needed until the final decision is made. We will inform people over the topic,” stated Izoria.

Former Minister of Defence of Georgia Tinatin Khidasheli annulled compulsory military service in June, as she said Georgia did not need soldiers who are forced to serve in the army.

Khidasheli is sure her decision was right despite the fact the Defence Ministry recruits only about 25% of Georgia's conscripts; the rest are recruited by the Ministries of Interior and Corrections.

“I hope the new minister will not change anything concerning this issue. We took responsibility before the North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) to do away with conscription and fully move to contract-based military service from 2017,” stated Khidasheli.

The Chief of General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze, said that he will explain to the new minister that the decision of abolition of compulsory military service was right.

“The abolition the compulsory military service was not decided solely by Khidasheli. Military staff were also involved in the process. We will hold ameeting with the new minister and explain to him why we made such decision,” stated Kapanadze.

According to him, at the moment he has no information as to what Izoria plans to do concerning the issue.

“Our country is facing many challenges. In our opinion, Georgia needs well-trained and professional soldiers,” stated Kapanadze.

The new minister also spoke about a 'four year working plan' which will be presented soon.

“There are questions not only concerning compulsory military service but about our military reserve as well. The strategy for the next four years will be given in the working plan which I will present to society in close future. The plan will contain answers on all the questions people have regarding military issues,” stated Izoria.