President Saakashvili’s lobbying efforts and “statements that are made abroad” will not stop new government from “restoring justice” in Georgia, PM Bidzina Ivanishvili said on November 30 and vowed that the process would be transparent and in line with rule of law.
Commenting on number of articles, op-eds and editorials, published recently in the Western media (among them in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Financial Times; Le Figaro; Liberation; the Economist), criticizing Georgian new government, particularly in connection to series of arrests of some high-ranking officials from the previous government, Ivanishvili said that these articles were a result of President Saakashvili’s lobbying.
He said that National Security Council (NSC), led by Giga Bokeria, had apparently spent this year GEL 16 million on lobbying efforts.
“Saakashvili has fully focused on lobbying in order to export this false information abroad,” the Prime Minister said.
“By the way we have so far failed to [achieve] disclosure of information available in Bokeria’s agency [referring to NSC]. GEL 16 million of budgetary funds has been spent [by NSC] this year, but this information is classified as secret… We will be able to disclose this information in the nearest future and we suspect that these budgetary funds are used for financing such lampoons… which are being written in the west,”
“We will not be acting depending on and in accordance to statements that are made abroad. We are the Georgian government and we know very well what is going on in Georgia; the Georgian society is very well-informed and we will act in line with laws. Articles of this kind will not stop and hamper actions of the law enforcement agencies,” Ivanishvili said.
“We are starting restoring justice in the country – something that was violated,” he added.
He said that President Saakashvili’s and his allies lobbying efforts “will not stop this process of restoring justice.”
“Their efforts are in vain and they are spending budgetary funds in vain,” Ivanishvili said.
Commenting on a meeting between Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington and on latter’s remarks expressing hope “that everything that is done with respect to prosecuting any potential wrongdoers is done transparently in accord with due process and the rule of law”, Ivanishvili said: “That’s exactly what we also say and that’s what we also do.”
“It was a very good meeting,” Ivanishvili said referring to talks between Panjikidze and Clinton on November 29. “Nothing especial has been said in this regard [of prosecuting alleged wrongdoers] – it should be transparent and comprehensible for both within Georgia and abroad and we will do everything in order to have all [these processes] transparent.”
PM Ivanishvili made these remarks while speaking with journalists on a sideline of a conference in Tbilisi commemorating International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which the Prime Minister attended together with U.S. ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland.
There will be a huge funding cut for the National Security Council (NSC) starting from next year.
This year NSC is receiving GEL 24.78 million of which GEL 1.12 million is allocated for salaries of NSC staff of 38 personnel. GEL 23 million in NSC’s funding is allotted under the line item “measures for national security policy.”
Funding under this line item is removed from the 2013 draft budget and NSC will receive only GEL 1.8 million next year of which GEL 1.17 million will be allocated for its staff salaries.