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Georgia needs anti-missile systems

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, April 12
Georgia’s Minister of Defence, Levan Izoria, has stated that the purchase of anti-missile systems is a priority for the ministry, taking the experiences of the August Russia-Georgia 2008 war into account.

Presenting his annual report in Parliament on Tuesday, Izoria stressed that the ministry would use its finances to create an anti-missile system.

Izoria plans to leave for France on April 17-18 to discuss the implementation plans of the agreement signed with the country over the purchase of the systems.

“I have heard critical statements many times that we have few aviation and naval assets. It would be excellent if we had the finances to develop a rounded armed forces, but it's better, taking our budget into account, to develop a field that will ensure the best defence for the state of all,” Izoria said.

“The Russia-Georgia war showed that one may have several bombers and all of them can be neutralised by a single missile,” Izoria added.

The minister stressed that the ministry was working on the deal, and it was also the government’s desire to increase the defence budget in the future.

The Ministry of Defense 2017 budget is 748 million GEL, two million less than in 2016.

The minister dismissed the opposition’s previous statements over the large-scale dismissal of the staff and “the demolition of the Georgian army.”

Iziria said “none of our soldiers were fired”.

He said only those who had served 18-19 years in the system quit their positions, and they were paid “high compensations for that, to appreciate their merit”.

“We spread more than 5 million GEL over 209 officers, and there were 153 others who also wanted voluntary redundancy. It’s less likely for someone to demand compensation and patiently wait for this if he/she is forced to quit,” Izoria said.

Georgia launched negotiations to acquire a military air defence system from France in 2014, and signed the relevant deal in 2015.