Urgent Meeting of the Defense Chiefs

(Tbilisi, Civil Georgia, July 19, 2002)Georgian Defense Minister and Chief of the General Staff Joni Pirtskhalaishvili hold an urgent meeting of the Armed Forces chiefs to discuss the incident concerning the decision of the officers of the elite battalionsto quit the army.

Today 102 officers of the elite Commando battalion and the special-purpose battalion of the Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) filed for dismissal from the armed forces.

Nika Janjgava, Acting Commander of the Land Forces says that the reason of their decision is the unbearable conditions in the army.

Janjgava has recently arrived from the United States where he studied at one of the US military academies.

Decision of the officers of the elite battalions came just few days before the launch of the next, field training phase of the US funded Georgia Train-and-Equip program. Commando and Kojori batallions were planned to take active part in the GTEP.

Independent military expert Davit Darchiashvili told Civil Georgia that the decision of the officers to withdraw from the army is directly connected to the GTEP implementation.

Recently the Georgian officials claimed that there are some forces aiming to hinder implementation of the GTEP. Irakli Batiashvili, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Security at the Committees session on July 18 did not ruled out that this kind of forces could be in the Georgian Defense Ministry as well.