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Akhalaia returns ready to field questions

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, November 6
“I am back to Georgia and I am ready to answer any questions,” Bacho Akhalaia, Georgia’s former Minister of Internal Affairs (MIA) posted on his Facebook page expressing his readiness to cooperate with any investigation.

Akhalaia’s post became public on November 5, where he accused the representatives of the Georgian Dream in carrying out an active “slander campaign” against him. He said the Georgian Dream wants to stage a “political show” instead of fulfilling the promises given to the voters. In an interview with Rustavi 2 TV, Akhalaia explained that the accusations levied against him are nonsense.

Akhalaia also wrote in his Facebook post that he temporally left the country to avoid “baseless” assumptions that he might have hindered the free and fair transition of power after the parliamentary elections on October 1.

The former minister believes that the policy of the new government runs counter to the interests of the country, but still believes that the election was an important stage for “consolidating [Georgia's] reforms.”

“I wish the new political team would not lose [sight of our] democratic achievements,” reads his statement.

Akhalaia said he was part of the “vitally important reforms” along with the former ruling United National Movement (UNM). He said that although the struggle against “the criminal world” was often dangerous, it was however, one of the most important issues in the fight against the organized crime.

His Facebook post reads that the rule of “thieves-in-law” in penitentiary facilities does not only encourage crime in the country but also violates human rights in and out of jails. Admitting that his team left some gaps, Akhalaia said they still managed to release Georgia from Mafiosi-like clans and ensured a safe environment for future generations.

The former minister also approved of the reforms in the ministry of defense which he chaired before the MIA. “My main task was to ensure the peace and security [of Georgia] from any type of military provocation or aggression,” Akhalaia said, proud that the Georgian Army has become one of the most trusted institutions in the country. He said it is pleasant that the Georgian soldiers participating in the ISAF peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan have received very positive evaluations from the partner countries.

The former minister said that Georgia’s success and the welfare of the Georgian people will always remain his number one priority. “I deeply believe that personal freedom and democracy are the guarantees for the success of our country without any alternative,” the post read.

Stressing that he neither represents nor speaks on behalf of any political group, Akhalaia highlighted that he still shares in the policies and visions set out by President Mikheil Saakashvili.

UNM MP Nugzar Tsiklauri welcomed Akhalaia’s public address. He told The Messenger that the former minister showed “high moral quality” and placed the “right accents” on the issues.

Political analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili thinks that when Akhalaia stands in front of the court, he will keep the silence. “We are the witnesses of the epidemic of messages from the formal runaway officials,” he told The Messenger.