TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian prime minister unexpectedly announced that he will attend a meeting today of the National Security Council, which was called by the president to respond to a proposed new pact between Russia and breakaway Abkhazia.
Despite the seriousness of the issues facing the council, it seems that most of the members and invited guests will be absent for different reasons, apparently because of a rivalry between the president and the prime minister.
The session was called by President Giorgi Margvelashvili and is dedicated to discuss the possible signing of an extensive new agreement between Russia and Abkhazia that includes military and economic issues and will significantly strengthen the breakaway region’s relations to Russia.
For several months, the president and prime minister have appeared to be rivals. PM Irakli Garibashvili has been chipping away bits and pieces of the president’s powers by amending various laws, and when Georgia was to sign a free trade agreement with the EU earlier this year, he also claimed the signing powers for himself, even though the law clearly says it’s the president’s job as head of state to sign international treaties.
After former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili criticized President Margvelashvili, whom he picked as presidential candidate, most of the government members also seem to act separately from president whom they mostly criticized for moving into the palace built by predecessor Mikheil Saakashvili.
When some of those who should attend the Security Council meeting said they might be absent, it was expected that the PM would also not attend, but on Monday evening, Garibashvili’s press office issued a statement saying that he will be attending the session. The council secretary also confirmed this.
The statement says that the head of government is ready to attend any meeting which will be dedicated to the most important issues for the country.
Irina Imerlishvili, Secretary of the Security Council, said on Monday that the location of the session changed and it will be held at the president’s palace instead of at the government office, because the Security Council is moving into the residence now and all future sessions will be held there.
The session will start at 18:00. According to Imerlishvili, the interior minister, finance minister and defense minister are all absent and their deputies won’t attend the session because by law they cannot fulfil the duties of members of the Security Council as they are not members.
Also the minister for Euro and Euro Atlantic integration, the minister for reconcilliation and civic equality and heads of three parliamentary committees will attend the session.