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New government will reconsider Afghanistan mission

by | Oct 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia may reconsider the size of its contingent in Afghanistan after 2014.

Candidate for new foreign minister Maia Panjikidze does not exclude that the new government will make changes to Georgia’s participation in the NATO-led ISAF operation in Afghanistan after 2014.

Panjikidze said this Tuesday while meeting with the parliamentary committees for euro-integration and foreign affairs, after a question from Akaki Minashvili from the minority National Movement party.

The Georgian Dream coalition, which won the parliamentary election, is now in the process of forming a new government. Mikheil Saakashvili, who admitted defeat, has officially named coalition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili as prime minister.

The president’s National Movement party is now in minority and says it will not support the new government, explaining that the reason is ideological differences. The former ruling party claims that Georgian Dream’s foreign policy is not Western-oriented.

At Tuesday’s session in parliament, the minority accused Panjikidze and her political force of having changed Georgia’s foreign policy course.

They drew attention to a statement made by incoming Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, who that after 2014 the government will start making sure that Georgian soldiers return home. National Movement representatives asked whether this statement fits in the political course which is oriented to Euro integration.

Maia Panjikidze answered that Irakli Alasania’s statement was not categorical regarding NATO and that he has not said that the entire Georgian contingent will leave Afghanistan in 2014.

“We should fulfill our international obligations, despite having lost 18 soldiers. But we should discuss how Georgia will participate in this mission in 2014,” Panjikidze said.

She explained that it is not excluded to change the size of the contingent, but this doesn’t mean that Georgia will not live up to its international obligations.

Parliament will be asked to approve the new government on Thursday.



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