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President Briefed on Air Defense Procurement Deals

President Giorgi Margvelashvili met Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli and top army brass on July 14 to discuss two contracts, which Georgia has signed in Paris over the past month on acquisition of air defense system.

The first deal was signed on June 15 with a producer of ground-based surveillance radars and air defense command and control systems ThalesRaytheonSystems, and another one on July 10 with European missile manufacturer MBDA.

Neither value nor content of the two contracts are reported by the officials, who are citing confidentiality of security related matters.

President’s office said after the meeting that implementation of these two deals will “increase country’s defense capabilities.”

“We can say that these [deals] increase Georgia’s self-defense capabilities qualitatively. Air defense systems have been bought, which, as we have seen [in the August 2008 war] was the weakest point in our defense,” said Irine Imerlishvili, secretary of the National Security Council at the president’s office, who was also present at the meeting.

“We all – the minister, the commander-in-chief [President Margvelashvili], the Prime Minister… agree that Georgia’s defense capabilities are becoming much stronger and compatible with NATO,” Defense Minister Khidasheli said.

Chief of General Staff of Georgian Armed Forces, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze, as well as commander of the Aviation and Air Defence Command Davit Abramishvili and commander of the air defense brigade Levan Iluridze were also present at the meeting with the President.

Later this week Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli also plans a meeting with the Group of Confidence – a small team of lawmakers in charge of parliamentary oversight on classified defense spending – to brief them about the recent air defense contracts.

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