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Fate of the National Security Council discussed

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, August 21
President Giorgi Margvelashvili met with majority and minority members, as well as Diplomatic Corps representatives on August 19 to specify the duties of the National Security Council (NSC). After the meeting President Giorgi Margvelashvili released a statement expressing his vision over the future role and methodology of the body.

The National Security Council of Georgia is a constitutional institution that is headed by the President of Georgia and is created to make recommendations related to military construction and the organization of national defence of the country. However, the role of the NSC, which is chaired by the president, was sidelined by the Security and Crisis Management Council, which is chaired by the Prime Minister.

Margvelashvili stressed that clearing up the obligations of the NSC under the new constitution was of the utmost importance for the country security.

“The NSC should be the venue where parliamentarians and members of the executive government discuss matters important for the country and where consensuses are built about the kinds of decisions that should be made,” Margvelashvili said.

US ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland called the discussion interesting and pointed at the dangerous situation that is taking place in the region.

“I think we need to remember the context that we are in; this is not a theoretical exercise – Georgia might face a risk anytime and it’s clear that the structures as they currently exist could lead to confusion,” Norland said, adding that all state institutions should think about the systems that will serve the country’s interests most.

The president’s statement released after the meetings reads that the expanding of the council by admitting more permanent members in would be a step forward, in particular the parliament speaker; chairpersons of parliamentary committees on foreign relations, and defense and security, as well as the chief of general staff of the armed forces.

The president also states that three key security and defense documents of the country – the national security concept; the threat assessment document and the national military strategy, should be discussed and agreed upon within the NSC.

The president informed that a draft over the changes would be discussed in parliament and the president’s administration would have a clear position with regard to key amendments.

Parliamentary majority members have not commented on the president’s initiative over expanding the scale of the NSC. The government’s Parliamentary Secretary Shalva Tadumadze admits that the draft that will be discussed in Parliament will specify all the rights. He suggested that the president will be involved in the drafting of the state security documents and concepts.

Member of the parliamentary minority Davit Darchiashvili stated that the president’s vision was acceptable for him. The MP states that through the current constitution the president’s institution preserved various rights including those over the security and defense fields.

“The President and the National Security Council should not be deprived of the rights,” Darchiashvili said.

Secretary of the Security Council Irine Imerlishvili states that the NSC under the president and the Security and Crisis Management Council headed by the Prime Minister will not have the same functions. She states that the law will draw clear lines between their obligations.

Constitutionalist Irakli Kobakhidze believes that amendments in legislation are essential for splitting the rights of the NSC and the government.