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Gov’t decides to establish an Air Forces Command

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, June 3
The Government of Georgia has made a decision to establish an Air Forces Command that will bring together the aviation and air defence components.

Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli stated the Air Forces Commander will be appointed in the near future.

“A very important reformation and transformation process is underway at the Ministry of Defence of Georgia. After consultations, and with the consent of the National Security Council, we implemented the first stage of these reforms and created two East and West Commands,” Khidasheli said.

“The next step is aviation and air defence reform. After several months of talks, discussions and detailed negotiations with the General Staff, the Government of Georgia approved the relevant amendment about the establishment of a new command. By the end of the week we’ll nominate a new Air Forces Commander. I do hope that the Command will be formed by the end of June,” the Minister added.

She said it was a very important process, as Air Defence was one of the priorities for our country.

Khidasheli said it was also very significant to accomplish these reforms before the Warsaw Summit prior to new decisions and tools would be taken with regards to Georgia.

“This is very important to meet new challenges with a ready and completed command, and our expectations are very positive,” Khidasheli said.

Meanwhile, she revealed her agenda for the upcoming NATO Summit scheduled on July 8-9 in Warsaw, Poland.

The first country where Defence Minister will hold meetings about the Warsaw Summit will be Poland. The Defence Minister will take part in the Wroclaw Global Forum and deliver a speech entitled “Keeping Europe Safe”.

After Poland, Tinatin Khidasheli will pay visit to the United States of America, where she will have bilateral meetings and meeting at the UN HQ to discuss the ongoing investigation about the 2014 fall mission in the Republic of Central Africa.

“We’ve received many optimistic promises at the Georgia Defence and Security Conference from the high-ranking U.S. officials and these will be the main topics of discussion. I’ll also visit New York for a day to have a meeting at the UN about the investigation,” she said.

The investigation concerns alleged cases of sexual abuse of locals by peacekeepers.

From the USA, the Defence Minister will head for France, where she will discuss the Warsaw Summit expectations and the strengthening of Georgia’s air defence capabilities with her French colleague, Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Her tour of the NATO countries will be wrapped up by the visit to the Kingdom of Belgium, where Brussels is hosting the Defence Ministerial Meeting on June 14-15. On the sidelines of the Defence Ministerial, Khidasheli will have bilateral meetings.

“We’ve scheduled many bilateral meetings in the framework of the Defence Ministerial. I hope that by the end of June we’ll cover many countries. The Defence Ministerial is a very convenient place to meet many Defence Ministers without traveling to each of their countries.”

“We’ll summarize the proposals we submitted at the previous Defence Ministerial aimed at increasing the defence capabilities of the country and more guarantees to be better protected on land, from the sky and from the sea. Our formula – more NATO in Georgia, more Georgia in NATO - should be properly reflected on the improved defence capabilities of our country,” Khidasheli said.