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Georgia marks 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Georgian Army

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, May 5
Yesterday, Georgia marked the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Georgian Army. The official date of the anniversary was April 30, but due to Easter celebrations being nationally observed, events planned for the significant date were postponed until today.

In December 1990, the National Guard was established according to a Resolution of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia. On April 24 1991, Georgia’s Cabinet Ministers issued a decree to recruit the country’s youth for compulsory military service. Conscription into the Army was officially launched on April 30 of that year.

Since that time, Georgia has experienced several conflicts, among them the Russia-Georgia war in 2008.

Georgian soldiers actively took part in international peacekeeping missions in 1999 and have defended international peace and security in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa.

The GAF has been in close partnership with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) for many years now. Georgia was granted a NATO Substantial Package at the NATO Wale’s Summit in 2014 that envisaged deeper cooperation between the alliance and Georgia, Georgia’s Ministry of Defence wrote.

Last year, as part of the Package, a Joint Evaluation and Training Centre (JETC) was established in Georgia that serves to boost Georgia’s military experience and self-defence capabilities.

Speaking before the Georgian Amy at Vaziani Military base in central Georgia, President Giorgi Margvelahvili praised Georgian soldiers for their professionalism and sacrifices and honoured the souls of the servicemen who sacrificed their lives for their homeland.

“You empower our state image, global stability and advance Georgia,” Margvelashvili said.

Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili highlighted that Georgia had soldiers that any country would be very proud of.

“I promise we will do our best serving in the Georgian Army to be more prestigious, and the words ‘I serve Georgia’ will be a reason of pride for Georgian soldiers,” Kvirikashvili said.

Georgia’s Minister of Defence Tinatin Khidasheli stressed the Army was a pillar for Georgia’s statehood. The Minister spoke about the history of the Army and its merit in her speech and also focused on the current period, where Georgian soldiers continue to write new stories of heroism.

In this context, the Minister mentioned the dedication of the August 2008 War hero Giorgi Antsukhelidze, as well as the three Georgian soldiers who saved their American colleagues in Afghanistan several months ago, and Sergeant Svetlana Lapachi who served in the GAF with her three sons.

She wished the soldiers to live in a peaceful and successful country.

Acting US Ambassador Nicolas Berliner also congratulated the Georgian Armed Forces on the Day of Army and emphasized the importance of the US-Georgia cooperation.

“I am honoured to congratulate the Georgian Armed Forces on the celebration of its 25th anniversary. As you know, Georgia and the United States have a very close partnership. Our troops were fighting side by side in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our soldiers have always said that Georgian soldiers are great warriors. Georgia should be proud that so many men and women are in uniform. We are proud of our cooperation with your country,” Berliner said.