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Georgia signs agreement with France over air-defence weapons

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, June 17
Georgia’s Defence Minister Tina Khidasheli signed an agreement with the French side over the purchase of defence weapons.

The process was launched during the tenure of former Defence Minister Irakli Alasania, and stirred much controversy.

In his exclusive interview for The Messenger, Alasania stated that Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili was against the purchase of the defence capacities that became one of the reasons why he was disliked by the founder of the Georgian Dream coalition.

Alasania stressed that the irritation and the delay was because of Ivanishvili’s confidential negotiations with the Russians.

Now the controversial agreement was signed by Georgia’s first female minister. She signed the agreement while attending the Paris Air Show on June 15.

The 51st edition of the world's oldest air show brought together players from military and civil aviation.

Khidasheli stressed that the significant agreement would seriously increase Georgia’s security and defence capabilities.

"The contract terms are highly beneficial for our country,” she said, but did not specify what benefits the agreement would offer.

She also thanked two former Defence Ministers of Georgia, Mindia Janelidze and Irakli Alasania, for beginning this process, which she was honoured to finalize successfully.

Georgia launched negotiations to acquire a military air defence system a year ago, when then-Defence Minister Alasania said: "Over the past 22 years, air defence has been a major trouble for Georgians which was revealed in the course of the Georgian-Russian War in 2008.”