PM: “express my condolences to the Government and people of Belgium and in this difficult time I wish them strength and endurance” (IPN)

Tbilisi, DFWatch – Georgia’s main political figures pay condolences and stress the importance of strong intelligence services in wake of today’s terrorist attacks in Brussels.

At least 34 people died in today’s terror attacks that shook Brussels, Belgian public broadcaster VRT reported.

14 persons are reported dead and 81 wounded in two attacks at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, while 20 persons are reported dead and 106 wounded in an attack at Maalbeek metro station in the European Quarter where many Belgian governmental and EU institutions are located, including the European Commission.

The current threat level was raised to 4, the highest one, across the country.

The events in Brussels prompted a stream of reactions from Georgia’s main political figures.

‘I’m shaken by the bombings at the Brussels Airport and metro station — terrorist acts once again claimed lives of innocent people. In addition to sowing death, this is an attempt of psychological terror against free society. This is a brutal crime, which the whole world needs to stand up against and give a strict response to. Georgia is on the world’s side in this fight. I express my condolences to the Government and people of Belgium and in this difficult time I wish them strength and endurance’, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who’s currently conducting an official visit to Belarus said.

‘I’m shocked by the horrific acts of terror in Brussels — the capital of Europe. In the name of the Georgian Parliament and the Georgian people, I express my condolences to the families and pay condolences to our colleagues at the Belgian Federal Parliament and the Belgian people. Today’s events once again show that terrorism has no borders and it’s our duty to unify and fully mobilise our efforts against this terrible threat’, Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili said.

‘I am absolutely shaken and shocked by the terrorist acts committed in Brussels. Today we saw once again that evil has no borders and the only choice for the free world is to stand united and together fight against terrorism’, Minister of Defence Tinatin Khidasheli wrote.

‘Our security services are working efficiently. Against this background, the proposals coming from some opposition parties for abolishing the State Security Services seem even more ridiculous. On the contrary, we should all cooperate with state security structures in order to ensure peace in our country and its ability to thrive’, Vice Speaker of Parliament Zviad Dzidziguri said.

‘There is only one answer to this attack — the modern world should stand even more firmly to defend the values which are shared by any normal country. Our choice and Georgia’s choice is to be a part of the civilised world. Let’s fight terrorism together with others. Accordingly, the main responsibility of our intelligence services shouldn’t be to conduct surveillance of politicians, but to take care of our country’s security’, one of the leaders of opposition United National Movement party Davit Bakradze said.

‘This demonstrates once again how much at risk our world is. Today’s events once again draw our attention to the importance of efficient and strong intelligence services in order to obtain timely information and prevent such acts of terrorism. Once again, I extend my condolences to our European friends in this difficult day and I want to emphasise that Georgia needs to allocate more resources to ensure that our intelligence services are adequately prepared to prevent such threats’, leader of opposition Free Democrats party Irakli Alasania said.

‘It will be important for Europe to analyse these two attacks in a general context and develop new methods. This is a starting point for European security. Many approaches should probably be reviewed, such as the European approach to the Syrian crisis and generally to terrorist organisations and states which have connections to them. I believe that such a comprehensive approach will minimise the threat. This is how it is more or less successfully managed in the United States, although terrorist tactics change and it’s natural that the civilised world must constantly be on guard’, Chief of the Atlantic Council of Georgia and Vice President Batu Kutelia said.

In relation to Georgia, Mr Kutelia added:

‘We need to cooperate with intelligence services of our partner countries, for instance by exchanging information on individuals who cross our borders. By defining risk groups, the immediate danger of having someone commit such terrorist acts will be minimised. However, in my opinion, the present analysis shows that Georgia isn’t the main goal of ISIS. Georgia is not considered under an immediate threat, although it doesn’t mean that our intelligence services shouldn’t begin an active work on preventing such things in the future.’

Georgian borders and all strategic objects, including airports tightened security measures in consequence of the attacks in Brussels.

InterPressNews contributed to this report.