The newly-formed National Security Council of Georgia held its inaugural session on May 1, chaired by the Prime Minister, Mamuka Bakhtadze.
The new National Security Council was established in April 2019, four months after the President-led National Security Council ceased functioning following entry into force of the new constitution.
Speaking with reporters after the session, the newly-appointed Secretary of the NSC, Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia, noted that the meeting was “chiefly technical,” and that the next meeting will take place exactly in a month.
The NSC Secretary added that the Prime Minister gave “specific instructions” to the Council members. He also said the Pankisi gorge clash was one of the agenda items discussed at the meeting, but refrained from giving further details.
Gakharia also touched upon the controversy surrounding the David Gareji Monastery, saying the matter is “extremely delicate.” “I call on everyone to avoid speculating with the issue and inciting ethnic strife; we have to be very cautious about the matter,” he stressed.
“We are confident that together with our strategic partner and a friendly state we will reach an agreement that will take into consideration our cultural heritage and the interests of our church,” Gakharia noted.
The National Security Council is an eight-member advisory body chaired by the Prime Minister. The rest of the permanent members include: defense, interior, foreign and finance ministers, heads of state security and intelligence services, and chief of the armed forces.
- The President-led National Security Council was established in 1996. Its powers were significantly curtailed by the November 2013 changes to the constitution; the NSC was effectively sidelined by the State Security and Crisis Management Council, which was established in December 2013 and was chaired by the Prime Minister.
- The State Security and Crisis Management Council was abolished in December 2017 in PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili’s structural reform plan.