News, Security

Tbilisi welcomes missile defense despite warning

by | Jan 20, 2012

Georgia has been proposed as location for an X-band radar. One of those radars in U.S.' missile defense is sea based (pictured above). (Official photo released by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.)

TBILISI, DFWatch – A Georgian parliamentarian from the governing party welcomes the idea of Georgia as location for parts of the U.S. missile defense system.

Davit Darchiashvili, who heads parliament’s EU integration committee, said it while commenting statements by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that if America places parts of its missile defense in Georgia, it would force Russia to aim its offensive weapons at Georgia.

The idea of Georgia as location for missile defense was floated one year ago by a group of U.S. senators, because Turkey demanded that if a radar were to be located in that country, information should not be shared with Israel.

„We believe the Republic of Georgia’s geographical location would make it an ideal site for a missile defense radar aimed at Iran“, the senators wrote. Georgia did not immedately respond, but in a September interview with Newsweek, president Mikheil Saakashvili said he would accept a missile defense radar in his country.

Darchiashvili doesn’t have any information about the perspectives of the placement of these systems in Georgia. He says such issues are not his area of competence, but that whatever is being discussed, he would sign it.

Georgian defense would be strengthened, he argues, because it would be more involved in a common security structure.

Rati Maisuradze, Vice Chairman of Parliament’s Defense and Security Committee and a member of the Christian Democratic Party, says that this issue hasn’t been discussed on committee level.

“My personal position towards this issue is that even if it were being discussed, I do not think it is appropriate to speak loudly on this issue before making a decision,” he says.

He also notes that ‘if this issue is reviewed and settled, I personally and my party, the Christian Democrat Movement, will be happy, because it will be a certain guarantee for our safety.’

Georgian government officials have not yet commented on whether the issue of deployment of missile defense is being discussed or not. The chair of the Georgian Defense Ministry’s press office only told us that they ‘do not comment on the Putin statement.’

We did not succeed in getting any comments from the Foreign Ministry and the Security Council, because January 19 is a public holiday in Georgia and offices are closed.

Vladimir Putin, who is running for president for the third time, met with leading Russian editors January 18.

“We care about where these systems will be placed, near or far to our borders, and will they be in Georgia at last. And what? We should aim our rockets to the Georgian territory? Can you imagine how horrible is that? Do we have a guarantee that it won’t happen? No!” Putin said.

Darchiashvili says that this is a military-technical issue and other bodies are competent; accordingly he doesn’t have any information. But in his opinion, the reason for Putin’s statement is that the Russian government tries to create an image of Georgia as an enemy state.

“The issue of Georgia in the Russian logic is always a topic for domestic consumption. [Putin’s statement] is absurd. Any normal-thinking Russian doesn’t believe it,” Darchiashvili adds.

 



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