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Panjikidze not convinced of Georgia’s European course

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Thursday, November 13
The Georgian Defense Ministry officials arrested recently were from the Procurement Department and the General Staff's Communications and IT Unit. Prosecutors have charged them with misspending over 4 million lari ($2.3 million) in a suspected sham tender to lay fiber optic cable last year. The fact was followed by Alasania’s statement on a deliberate attack on the ministry and warning about Georgia’s European course that resulted in his prompt dismissal. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze and Minister for European and Euro Atlantic Integration Alex Petriashvili also resigned, stating that Georgia’s foreign course was at risk.

Panjikidze also states that members of the government say that Georgia’s European path will not be changed. However, the real steps are more important.

“I spoke with the German Foreign Minister by phone today. Many officials, including from the US Department of State, have contacted me this week. They are concerned by the latest developments in Georgia; they are interested in my opinion on the current events in the country”, Panjikidze said.

“Georgia’s European path is in my interests. We know exactly what was planned in this regard and we will closely monitor the implementation of this plan,” Panjikidze said, who joined the Free Democrats opposition party chaired by Irakli Alasania.

Commenting on the activities of the Defense and Interior Ministries, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili stated a couple of days ago that Interior Minister Aleksandre Tchikaidze works much better and addresses the problems of his ministry more efficiently than Alasania did. He also promised that new Minister of Defense Mindia Janelidze would be better and form a more transparent and successful ministry.

Georgia’s Former Defense Minister during the Shevardnadze period, Davit Tevzadze stated that under Alasania the system was “locked”, and it will be even more “locked” under a new Minister Janelidze.

“Locked” means a situation where you do not know what is actually happening in the system,” Tevzadze told reporters. “Alasania was the person, who came from the security services, and their style is to obtain the information they want to get,” Tevzadze said. According to him, the replacement of the Defence Minister “will not affect Georgian troops, due to the simple reason that no one cares about the troops.” Tevzadze said that Janelidze’s appointment as Defence Minister was a hasty decision.

When it comes to the opposition, UNM members stated that Gharibashvili and the founder of the Georgian Dream coalition Bidzina Ivanishvili “got rid of” Alasania. They stress that Tchikaidze is a family relative of Gharibashvili’s father-in-law and enjoys a special relationship with the prime minister.