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President Saakashvili refuses to use state guards

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, February 28
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said on February 26 that he will no longer use the Special Service of the state guard and will walk without protection.

“The President was asked to accept the constitutional changes in the case he wanted to be guarded,” Manjgaladze said, adding that from the beginning there were talks concerning the division of the Special Service through the involvement of the diplomatic corp.

“The government accepted part of the service to be allocated for the president. However, the government raised the issue of the constitutional changes then,” Manjgaladze stated.

“Super irresponsible” was the assessment given to the President’s decision by the Parliament chair Davit Usupashvili. The parliament chair explained that the president belongs to the country and he will be protected anyway.

Usupashvili stated that the Special Service was divided and part of it is under the governance of the president and his administration.

“There is disagreement about how many individuals should be allocated for the president’s protection 400 or 1,800 men. The government’s decision that 400 men will be allocated for the president was unacceptable for Saakashvili who demanded 1,800 individuals,” Usupashvili said.

Georgian Dream MP Zviad Dzidziguri added that there are larger countries where the presidents have less than 400 guards. He also stated that 55 men guard the Prime Minister.

During the meeting with journalists on February 26th the President also emphasized that for the first time in history, a joint document of Georgia and European Parliament failed in Brussels.

“The document was discussed on February 26 in Brussels. It had been taken as a great step forward, but unexpectedly, Georgia’s parliamentary delegation blocked it,” Saakashvili said.

Coalition member Tina Khidasheli who is in Brussels stated, “No such document was rejected.” According to her, there were some suggestions from the minority United National Movement (UNM) members during the sitting that were not accepted.

“One of such suggestion was the recognition of pressure on the UNM parliament members from the coalition’s side. They wanted the coalition’s representatives as well as the MPs of the UN to recognize such facts. However, we informed society and the suggestion failed,” Khidasheli said.

The President also stated that the largest Georgian banks are either having negotiations or are being sold to Russian banks. However, after making the statement, Liberty and TBC banks have immediately reported that the statement is far from reality.

However, the next day Saakashvili apologized for misrepresenting the information about the two Georgian banks, although he said he knows for sure that Russian banks are interested in buying the Georgian banks in general.