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Fundamentally new era for Georgian Army

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, July 22
Georgia’s Minister of Defence Tinatin Khidasheli, who is paying her one-week official visit to the United States (US), says a “fundamentally new era” starts for Georgian Armed Forces (GAF) due to the memorandum signed between Georgia and the US early this month. It is worth mentioning here that this visit of Khidasheli to the USA is her last visit as a Defence Minister as she is resigning in couple of days due to the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

The Minister has already held meetings in the Pentagon dedicated to the implementation of the Memorandum on Deepening the Defence and Security Partnership between the US and Georgia, signed in Tbilisi by Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvrikashvili and US Secretary of State John Kerry on July 6, just prior to the NATO Warsaw Summit held on July 8-9.

Georgian and American military officials have discussed military cooperation prospects for the next three years and priority areas as well as talked about the Readiness Program of the GAF which, under the memorandum, will be implemented in Georgia with the help of the US.

“We have full support from the United States to accomplish our task and to increase readiness of Armed Forces to insure Georgia’s defence capability. It is the first time that our partner country is helping Georgia not only with regard to peacekeeping missions and NATO operations but in other areas as well,” Khidasheli said.

“Readiness Program will be a turning point and the beginning of a fundamentally new era for the Georgian army,” the Minister added.

Khidasheli recalled her words prior to the NATO Summit that Georgia would be more powerful after the Alliance’s Warsaw gathering and stressed that the Readiness Program was the demonstration of this.

“Together with US instructors, we will be able to move the Army to a principally new phase of preparation with new equipment and improved capabilities,” Khidahseli said.

First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the GAF COL Omar Begoidze stressed the programme did not only provide the preparation of military units but it would promote “institutional changes” in all directions, including military personnel, logistics and resource management.

“It will allow us to increase combat readiness of the Georgian Army to be capable to carry on defence operations on their own,” he said.

Within the new program, a US team will soon arrive in Georgia to begin working on the implementation plan of the programme, which is expected to come into full effect from next year.