“OUR ARMY IS ALREADY IN NATO”
19 September, 2013
“OUR ARMY IS ALREADY IN NATO”
“Inclusion of Georgia in Syria operations isn’t considered”

“The Georgian Dream coalition was created against the authoritative regime but there should start formation of the coalition based on values,” declared Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania in an exclusive interview with us.
Q. – For years the Defense Ministry was one of the most closed Departments; previous authorities will obviously criticize you for openness.
A. – We don’t give out information that may endanger national security of the country. In the
heyday of the previous government classifying of information heightened a risk of corruption. We enabled the public and the parliament elected by the public to control all our financial activities.
Q. – The President doesn’t want the two French helicopters to be given away. He expressed his reproach and said that the new authorities are literally carrying out Russia’s instructions.
A. – The President’s declaration is incorrect and inconsistent. For the last five years they didn’t lift a finger to develop the air force; not a single tetri was spent on air fleet repairs.
Relations with NATO resulted in full scale training of more than 11 thousand soldiers in compliance with highest military standards. It’s a force that will professionally oppose any enemy. This is what singles out Georgian army from others in the region. We emphasize quality, not quantity. That’s why we’ll have mobile, quick-response armed forces; this implies not increase of the number but its optimization. Three weeks ago NATO made a decision of particular interest for us: from 2015 onwards, Georgia will be a part of NATO quick response forces.
Q. – What sort tasks would our soldiers fulfill under the aegis of NATO quick response forces?
A. – It’s an armed unit of permanent readiness which in times of crisis will be used in any hot spot around the world. Our army is actually trained in accordance with NATO standards. Even more, our army is already in NATO and now we, the politicians, have to catch up with the army to reach their standards.
Not only NATO but EU should also benefit from our high competence. It will assist our integration into EU. The delegation of our PM visiting Poland few days ago returned with good news. It became known that before September of the next year the association agreement with EU will be finalized.
Q. – If the situation in Syria aggravates further, how dangerous it may prove to be for Georgia?
A. – We have signed convention and UN resolution on the no use and dissemination of chemical weapons. We support the values shared by USA, EU and civilized world in general. We condemned assault on peaceful population and joined those countries that consider that a perpetrator should be punished in order not to allow it happen again. Georgia’s inclusion in Syria military operations is not considered.
Q. – But some people suppose that in case the West gets involved in Syria operations Russia will carry out intervention of Georgia.
A. – Even in if compulsory operations start against the Assad regime in order to make him give up chemical weapons, for now I see no threat of escalation in relations between Georgia and Russia. Nevertheless, Syria is a problem for the entire region. Intelligence and counter terrorist services of Defense and Interior Ministries keep vigil.
Q. – Let me now move on to the forthcoming elections. Thomas Melia, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, underlined significance of election environment. In the nearest future, US Ambassador will visit Samegrelo (Western Georgia) because pre-election provocations are allegedly in the pipeline there, indeed if we take the Governor Gunava’s words for it.
A. – Samegrelo is not any more like it was the last year. In the past the entire Samegrelo was ravaged by paramilitary units cracking down on the opposition. Today situation is quite different there and in Georgia in general. This fact was noted during our meeting with Thomas Melia and USA Ambassador. It’s a long time since I last heard such a high opinion of an election environment from American state officials of this level.
I guarantee that every soldier, as well as military and civilian employees of Ministry of Defense will have a freedom of choice.
Q. – When speaking about Ivanishvili’s quitting of politics, names of his potential substitutes were mentioned. You too were named several times.
A. – It’s too early to speak about the future PM but my wish and position is known to the current one. I have a two-year plan and have to bring the job started at the Ministry of Defense to the end.
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