Commenting on PM Ivanishvili's remarks on Lopota gorge clash in which he suggested that Georgia's previous government was possibly supporting militant groups with links to Islamist insurgents in the North Caucasus, Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili said that "more caution" was needed while making publicly remarks on "such sensitive issues."
During an interview with Channel 9 TV on April 30, Usupashvili, who is one of the leaders of the Georgian Dream coalition, was asked: "Let's assume that you are now in the opposition", how would you assess PM's remarks on Lopota gorge clash?
"There is no need at all to be in opposition in order to [say]... that it's better to take little bit more cautious approach to such issue," Usupashvili said and tried to attribute PM's remarks to the latter's lack of political experience. Usupashvili said smiling that Ivanishvili was "often complaining" about himself for "not speaking in politician's language".
"In general I think that on such issues, which are sensitive from both international and domestic point of view, we all should better at first wait for the investigation materials and for incontrovertible evidence and to then express suppositions; that will be much better," Usupashvili said. "I do not think that anyone - whether it is current or previous government or the country - would benefit from public debates on these issues, unless there is incontrovertible proof."
When Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, was asked for at least three times at various separate occasions in recent days about PM's remarks on Lopota gorge clash, he responded that investigation was ongoing and there was no need to jump to conclusions; he also said that "according to information available to me, we have no ground to claim" that militants were supported by the government. "Let's wait for the investigation," said Alasania on April 29 and also added that the PM was of the same opinion. "PM said that investigation was ongoing and no conclusions should be made in advance," Alasania said.
PM Ivanishvili said in an interview with Rustavi 2 TV on April 26 that investigation into August, 2012 Lopota gorge clash, which killed three Georgian troops and several suspected militants, might reveal “shocking” results and might substantiate allegations voiced by the Public Defender that the previous government trained and equipped militants to then send them to Russia’s North Caucasus. Remarks triggered barrage of criticism from UNM and President Saakashvili slammed the remarks as “irresponsible” and “extremely dangerous”, which, he said, were precisely in line with Russian propaganda. On April 29 PM Ivanishvili said that he “expressed suspicion”, but had never stated affirmatively that the previous government was “cooperating with terrorists”.