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Defense weapon purchase document - same as under Alasania or not?

By Messenger Staff
Friday, June 19
After a nine-month political controversy, Georgia signed an agreement with the French in terms of the purchase of defense weapons.

Georgia’s Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli claims that the agreement will definitely strengthen Georgia’s defense capabilities.

She also highlights that the content of the agreement is maximally profitable for the state interests.

Both sides refrain from revealing the details of the agreement. Khidasheli did not even mention the type of the weapons or the company that will supply them. The price of the agreement also remains confidential.

However, the Defense Ministry uploaded a video footage portraying the representatives of ThalesRaytheonSystems (TRS), a French-American joint enterprise.

TRS produces ground surveillance radars, air control systems, as well as devices for cyber security.

The opposition Free Democrats, who are chaired by former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, have questions about the document signed on June 15.

They are demanding an open discussion regarding the content of the agreement in the frame of Parliament’s Trust Group that unites the MPs from the majority and the parliament minority.

They have already appealed to the head of the group, Irakli Sesiashvili, to call a meeting of the group as soon as possible.

“We have information that Tina Khidasheli signed the agreement, but we do not know whether the agreement is 100% identical to the version put forward by Irakli Alasania or not. We want to know the details,” former Foreign Minister, member of the Free Democrats Maia Panjikidze said.

Parliament chair Davit Usupashvili stated that the contents of the document are a state secret that creates no threat for any country.

He explained that the enforcement of the defense capacities has been in the agenda since the Georgian-Russian war in 2008, when Georgia experienced a serious loss in the defense field.

Usupashvili also stated that the purchase of such weapons is never unilaterally decided by a single country.

“We have agreed the solution with our strategic partners and the NATO member states,” Usupashvili says.

Analyst Tornike Sharashenidze stated that the purchase would put a strain on the state budget.

“Alasania faced obstacles in this regard as the weapons were expensive… just purchasing the weapons is not enough, we should also know how to use them. Thus the ministry should invest in the training and teaching of soldiers,”Sharashenidze said.

In his exclusive interview for The Messenger, Alasania stated that one of the reasons why the founder of the Georgian Dream coalition Bidzina Ivanishvili disliked him was his success with regards to defense procurement. He stated that the purchase of the weapons was not in the interests of Ivanishvili, who according to former defense minister was holding confidential negotiations with Russia. Alasania also was suspicious over the scales of the agreement signed among the French and Georgian sides under the ministry of Khidasheli.

“ We should know whether it is the same wide-reaching agreement or not,” Alasania said.