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Officers of Elite Troops Remain in Army

After the talks with the Defense Minister on July 19 Nika Janjghava, former acting chief of the land forces stated that he quits the post and the army, though other 100 officers of the Commando battalion and the special-purpose battalion of the Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) remain in the army.

“In case the situation is not improved in the army in the nearest future Georgia will be left without Commando and the special-purpose battalion,” Nika Janjghava told the reporters after the talks with Defense Minister Davit Tevzadze.

On July 19 102 officers of the Commando battalion and the special-purpose battalion of the Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) deployed at Kojori camp filed dismissal notices to the Minister of Defense. Georgian Defense Minister and Chief of the General Staff Joni Pirtskhalaishvili held an urgent meeting of the Armed Forces chiefs to discuss the incident concerning the decision of the officer and then the Defense Minister holds talks with the officers.

Nika Janjghava, Acting Commander of the Land Forces was among the officers. He said earlier in the morning on July 19, that the reason of their decision was the unbearable conditions in the army.

Source in the Georgian MoD told the Civil Georgia that Nika Janjghava had disagreements with the Defense Minister David Tevzadze regarding his appointment as the Commander of the Armed Forces, as it was clear that his temporary appointment would not be followed by the final approval.

Defense Minister Tevzadze told the journalists today that dismissal of Janjghava was reviewed for ‘unsanctioned release of information.’ The Minister did not disclose the details.

Janjghava has recently arrived from the United States where he studied at one of the US military academies.

Decision of the officers of the elite battalions came just few days before the launch of the next, field-training phase of the US funded Georgia Train-and-Equip program. Commando and Kojori battalions were planned to take active part in the GTEP. The decision of the officers would probably jeopardize implementation of the program.

Independent military expert Davit Darchiashvili told the Civil Georgia that the decision of the officers to withdraw from the army was directly connected to the GTEP implementation.

Recently the Georgian officials claimed that there are some forces aiming to hinder implementation of the GTEP. Irakli Batiashvili, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Security at the Committees session on July 18 did not rule out that this kind of forces could be in the Georgian Defense Ministry as well.

Irakli Batiashvili also said that the insufficient financing of the Georgian Armed Forces would inevitably lead to destabilization in the country. The Committee discussed budgetary situation in defense sphere of the country.

Budgetary shortfall of the Defense Ministry consists of 4 million Lari (USD 1,8 million) in the first half of 2002, while the entire funding of the Ministry in 2002 is only USD 17 million.

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