Ex-Defense Minister Irakli Alasania says he was ordered not to sign an air defense agreement with France.

Irakli Alasania. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania and his successor Mindia Janelidze on Wednesday accused each other of lying about a treaty Alasania signed in France in 2014 shortly before his dismissal.

The treaty concerns air defense, but not many details are known. Alasania only said it is important for the bilateral relations with France and for Georgia’s defense capability.

On Tuesday, Alasania said that Mindia Janelidze, the new defense minister, called him and told him not to sign the treaty about air defense. He also said on the talkshow Archevani on Rustavi 2 that even though Janelidze called ‘he wasn’t the decision maker.’ He was a ‘mediator.’

“I still hope that the agreement will be implemented. If it fails, I will do my duty and inform the public about all the details,” he said.

Janelidze responded on Wednesday by saying that Alasania’s statement is ‘irresponsible’ and he denied that he has called Alasania while he was in France to sign the agreement.

On Thursday, Alasania repeated that Janelidze was a ‘communicator’ who relayed a decision that came from the prime minister. He said when he met his colleague in France they negotiated about air defense, which is necessary for Georgia.

“Even though I got this order, while everything was already agreed I didn’t obey the order but signed the agreement,” he said. “If Georgia has a chance to get defense from France there is merit in signing that agreement.”

At a press conference Thursday, PM Irakli Garibashvili responded by saying that Alasania’s statements are ‘immoral’ and speculation about secret cases is ‘not the business of a real man,’ using the Georgian term ‘vashkatsi’ (ვაშკაცი).

“I wouldn’t wish to make a serious statement about this topic,” he said. “Politicizing such an issue and speculation about it is absolutely immoral.”

Then Alasania said interrupting the country from being supplied with air defenses is harmful and the PM doesn’t know what it means to be ‘manly’ and what speculation means.

“He thinks it is speculation to tell the truth and it is manly when you arrest innocent people and use the Prosecutor’s Office for political pressure.”

Five Defense Ministry officials were detained for embezzlement at the end of October, 2014, when Alasania was visiting France. As the responsible minister, Alasania tried to assure everyone that the detainees were innocent. Soon after, a few more ministry officials were detained in another case, and Alasania himself was fired. The PM then brough in Janelidze to replace him.