President Saakashvili has convened a session of the National Security Council (NSC) for Tuesday evening to discuss the June 6 attack on the Georgian troops in Afghanistan, which killed seven soldiers, and ‘jihad threat’ video which emerged on the internet before the attack.
PM Ivanishvili said on June 11 that he would not participate in the Tuesday’s NSC session.
Defense Minister Irakli Alasania; Interior Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze will be present at the NSC session, which will be the second one since Georgian Dream coalition came into government in October 2012; the first one was held on June 5.
The NSC session was convened after President Saakashvili demanded on June 8 from Interior Minister Irakli Garibashvili to “immediately” identify those who had “produced and commissioned” YouTube video, titled “Taliban Jihad Against Georgian Troops in Afghanistan”, which threatens to take jihad into Georgia. Saakashvili suggested that the Interior Ministry was delaying the probe; he said that there was “a high probability” that the video was in fact produced in and uploaded from Georgia and had nothing to do with Taliban.
On June 10 President’s UNM parliamentary minority group accused the Interior Ministry of dragging out the investigation. UNM MP Givi Targamadze and some other UNM lawmakers alluded that head of the government’s PR department, Koka Kandiashvili, was possibly behind the video and called for setting up of a parliamentary investigation commission to carry out a separate, independent probe into the case. Kandiashvili responded that he would not even comment on this “delirium” by UNM lawmakers and by citing reports in Georgian tabloid press he pointed finger at unspecified employee of the president’s administration, as well as at former head of Imedi TV and Saakashvili’s long-time ally Giorgi Arveladze, whom Kandiashvili referred to as a producer of fake news on war which was aired in March 2010 by Imedi TV, when it was ran by Arveladze; the latter said the allegation was absurd.
Asked whether he would attend the Tuesday’s session of the NSC, PM Ivanishvili responded on June 11, that there was too much hype over NSC sessions, which, he said, the President started to convene after a lengthy pause and only after GD started questioning efficiency of NSC.
“I have seen the agenda of [Tuesday’s NSC session] – ISAF and [‘jihad threat’] video will be discussed – I think right now none of these issues are so interesting for me to go to the session; but Garibashvili, Alasania and Panjikidze will be attending,” PM Ivanishvili said.
He also says if he sees that NSC gathers not just for the purpose of a meeting itself, he will attend next sessions.
The PM said that Defense Minister Alasania would ask President Saakashvili why it was necessary to pre-announce President’s visit to Afghanistan in advance in December, 2012, as well as about President’s remarks made while visiting Georgian troops in Afghanistan this May, which were aired by Rustavi 2 TV and in which Saakashvili asks a Georgian soldier how many insurgents, who attacked a base in Helmand in May, he killed. Ivanishvili also said that Interior Minister Garibashvili would brief the NSC about the investigation into ‘jihad threat’ video.
Asked about mutual accusations over possible sources of ‘jihad threat’ video, PM Ivanishvili said that such methods had never been a “trait” of his team and then also added that it was more a “trait” of UNM and then mentioned Imedi TV’s 2010 fake war news report.
“I am not making any conclusions, we should wait for the investigation. As far as I know the investigation is cooperating very actively with the Americans and FBI,” he said.
Ivanishvili also said that Foreign Minister Panjikidze would ask the President at NSC session why he was “obstructing” nomination of ambassadorial candidates.