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Paper: Okruashvili, Alasania at Odds over Military Unit in Kodori
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 5 Jul.'05 / 13:31

The Georgian daily Rezonansi (Resonance) reported on July 5 that Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili and Chairman of the Tbilisi-based Abkhaz government-in-exile Irakli Alasania have been involved in “an open confrontation” over the issue of the recent aboloshment of the "monadire" (hunter) military unit, based in the Kodori gorge - the only part of breakaway Abkhazia controlled by the central authorities in Tbilisi.

This military group in the Kodori gorge, which until recently was the part of the Georgian Defense Ministry, was set up by local residents in an attempt to protect the gorge. This group was a source of concern for the authorities in breakaway Abkhazia. But the Defense Minister’s decision to abolish this unit was followed by protest by the locals in Kodori.

“it was a mistake to abolish "Monadire." But the Defense Ministry will soon restore it,” the Rezonansi quoted Irakli Alasania as saying.

But, according to Rezonansi, Irakli Okruashvili described this statement by Alasania as “foolish” and said that “'Monadire' will not be restored.” “It is not up to Alasania to interfere in the Defense Ministry’s competences,” added the Defense Minister.

The Rezonansi speculates that this war of words between Okruashvili and Alasania is triggered by the latter’s aspiration to take over the Defense Minister’s position. The paper says that Alasania’s desire is backed by Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, whose relations with Okruashvili have recently become strained.

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