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New ministers appointed

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Wednesday, August 3
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili appointed former Deputy Chief of the State Security Service Levan Izoria to the post of Defense Minister, while for Minister for Reconciliation he appointed former Deputy Reconciliation Minister Ketevan Tsikhelashvili.

Tsikhelashvili is considered by members of the government to be an expert in international relations and is actively involved in the International Geneva Talks.

Izoria is a law professor and former Deputy Interior Minister, who received his Masters and doctorate degrees in Germany.

Kvirikashvili wished luck to the new Ministers and hoped they would perfectly fit their new roles.

Ketevan Tsikhelashvili said she would continue the de-occupation policies towards Russia and dialogue policies toward the Abkhazian and Ossetian societies.

While delivering his speech, Izoria said that Georgia would continue its Euro-Atlantic integration efforts and other important reforms. He promised to continue working towards Euro-Atlantic integration and implement significant reforms in the Ministry.

“Georgia will be able to bring to higher-level strengthening of its self-defense capabilities,” stated Izoria on his first day of work.

The posts become vacant after former Minister of Defense Tinatin Khidasheli, who also was the first female Minister of Defense in Georgia’s history, and Reconciliation and Civil Affairs Minister Paata Zakareishvili, officially stepped down on August 1. They made their decision due to the upcoming Parliamentary elections, as they are members of the Republican Party, which has left the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) Coalition and will participate as a single party in October elections.

The appointment of Izoria on the post of the Defense Minister caused dissatisfaction amongst the opposition, while the ruling team claims he is the “right” person to fill the post.

Khidasheli criticized the PM for making such decision saying it was a mistake and “the wrong message for our partners abroad”.

According to Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili, who is Khidasheli’s husband and the leader of the Republican Party, Levan Izoria’s appointment as defence minister was a 'wrong step'.

“I hope this wrong step will not yield wrong policies in this field and everyone should care for this,” he commented.

PM Kvirikashvili responded to the comments, saying Usupashvili and Khidasheli’s statements were irrelevant. He expressed hope they would overcome their emotions and make different comments in the future.