‘STAFF OFFICERS TO BE SENT TO MALI’
28 March, 2013
‘STAFF OFFICERS TO BE SENT TO MALI’
Interview with Irakli Alasania, Minister of Defense

‘Bidzina Ivanishvili and I had a period of difficult one week that ended with a better result’, - said Defense Minister Irakli Alasania with whom we began our interview regarding last week’s main topic:
I.A. – We took responsibility that once a year the Ministry of Defense will present to Defense and Security Committee full account of purchases. It will be an important lever for majority and minority to establish real parliamentary supervisi
on on defense system.
I’d also like to pay attention to last week’s hearing in USA Senate. In the Defense and Security Committee they listened to the militaries’ assessment of American long-term policy in Afghanistan, generally to the security situation; Senator Shaheen displayed interest and much time was allotted to Georgia. Admiral Stavridis made a report stressing how successful a country is Georgia with regard to integration with NATO, how hopeful they are of Georgia and our militaries fighting in Afghanistan side by side with American infantry. Assessment of Senators and Defense Department was adequate that Georgia has unswervingly taken to the path of integration with Euro-Atlantic space.
Q. – It became known that our militaries will go to Mali on a military mission.
A. – It isn’t our ultimate task. We expressed our readiness and began negotiations with European Union Defense and Security system which is no less important than that of NATO. The responsibility that Georgia and Europe will take to each other will create closer institutional basis for our full-fledged integration with Europe. The fact that security of Europe begins from the Caucasus was revealed during the 2008 Russian-Georgian war when together with the Americans then-President of EU, the first person of the state Sarcozy got involved in. We offered EU our joint participation in staff operations and sending of staff officers to Mali.
Q. – Several weeks ago Irakli Okruashvili, ex-Minister of Defense declared that his computer was eavesdropped from your office.
A. – As soon as I took upon my responsibilities the first thing I did was taking away the technical means of eavesdropping from the military police.
Q. – Okruashvili also said that personnel changes are planned in the Government.
A. – Personnel changes aren’t planned in the Government. Change of ministers isn’t considered at this stage.
Q. - As they say, the Republicans are fighting to become Ivanishvili’s favorites and your team is considered to be their rival.
A. – Georgia has never had a Parliamentary Chairman like Mr. Davit Usupashvili. He is a man having statesman’s mentality and I’m glad to work with him.
Q. – During that ‘difficult period’ the Premiere made such declarations about you that …Do you keep no offence in this regard?
A. – To tell you the truth I don’t keep offence, what’s more, from such a friend and partner as Bidzina Ivanishvili, who changed the country’s life in October. Today we are even stronger partners. Bidzina Ivanishvili is head of our Government and I’m grateful for the big support he displays towards the Ministry of Defense and me.
Q. - Out of 8 billion allotted for Defense, how much was spent for the department?
A. – For now it’s difficult to say but Prosecutor’s Office has already found deficiency of more than one billion 300 thousand.
Q. – People brought by ex-Minister Shashkin still work at the Ministry…
A. – If they have made no criminal offence, everybody should be given a chance. This citizen is a victim of the system created by Saakashvili. People at our Ministry are promoted and assigned according to their talent and experience.
Q. – Will you be the presidential candidate from coalition?
A. – In the coalition we agreed to return to this issue in May. The coalition will make unanimous decision and the name of presidential candidate will become known then.

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