Dzneladze is presented as the New Chief of the Joint Staff
By Ana Robakidze
Friday, December 7
President Mikheil Saakaashvili visited the Ministry of Defence and presented the new head of the Joint Staff on December 5th. Colonel Irakli Dzneladze has become the successor to 32-year-old General Giorgi Kalandadze, who was suspended from office for violation of his official duties.
The President stressed Dzneladze’s skills and experience in military affairs. “He (Dzneladze) is a very experienced officer... well educated. I think he is the perfect candidate for the post.” Saakashvili stated. The President also paid his respects to the previous chief of the armed forces and expressed his hope that Kalandadze will be serving again soon.
Saakashvili mentioned that he chose the nominee for the post after long consultations and a “constructive exchange of views” with the Defence Minister, Irakli Alasania, who also attended the meeting.
“We cannot stop development of the armed forces.” the President said while speaking about the current situation in the armed forces. He is confident about the importance of ongoing reforms in the military system. Saakashvili added that NATO membership and restoring Georgia's territorial integrity should remain as major priorities of the Georgian military. "The Ministry of Defense shares the same opinion that we should continue moving towards NATO.” the President said.
Saakashvili emphasized how important it is to refrain from yielding to emotions and continue with development process of the armed forces. “The armed forces are above any personalities and above legal problems.” the President stated.
The President also commented on the recent situation with NATO: “I think there have been some difficulties recently, we should overcome them”. Saakashvili is confident that the cooperation between himself and the Georgian Dream government will ensure Georgia's continuing path towards NATO. “In 2014 there will be a NATO expansion summit and I hope that by that time Georgia will be in a good shape to join the next wave of NATO expansion.” he added.
“Georgia’s commitment to NATO is solid. And NATO’s commitment to Georgia remains just as solid. Therefore the alliance is going to stay loyal to the decision taken at the Bucharest Summit and support and assist Georgia’s reform efforts through the NATO-Georgia Commission. However, Georgia is now expected to ensure smooth co-habitation between the President and the government and to stay on the path of democratic reforms." NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated after the most recent meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission.
The Secretary-General also commented on the recent arrests of former government and military officials, saying that NATO has no intention in interfering in the legal process but adding, “It is of the utmost importance that the authorities in Georgia fully respect the fundamental principles of the rule of law and those people who are arrested also are guaranteed due process...there is still work to do.” Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen added that NATO welcomes Dzneladze as the new Chief of the Joint Staff.