The Tbilisi Strategic Discussion, a regular forum for security and foreign policy dialogue under the President of Georgia, released yesterday the final communiqué of its June 2 meeting, criticizing the ongoing constitutional reform process.
“The fundamental changes in the country’s defense and security architecture have never been discussed with local experts specializing in these fields, as well as with the representatives of [Georgia’s] strategic allies and international organizations,” the communiqué said.
The document also stated that foreign and Georgian organizations and experts specializing on security and defense policies “are concerned by the proposed amendments,” and added that the draft constitution text “requires further elaboration and a wide societal consensus.”
Participants of the Discussion agree that the proposed amendments will make the already “flawed” state of the national security environment, “even more vulnerable and less effective,” since it does not set “a full-fledged and coherent legal and institutional framework for security policy formulation, planning, execution and oversight.”
“As a result, these amendments will negatively affect the country’s defense capabilities, effectiveness of the national security system and its stability, will weaken civilian and democratic oversight [over the security sector],” the document added.
The final communiqué also stipulated that the proposed abolition of the National Security Council, “will eliminate the possibility of real time and continuous discussion and decision-making on security issues with participation of key officials, including the commander-in-chief.”
The document suggested revising the timeframe for the constitutional amendments, and achieving “wide societal-political consensus to create a resilient security system with high legitimacy.”
Instead of implementing amendments in “a hasty regime,” the communiqué said, the process should involve local and foreign experts and needs to be carried out through “analysis of threats and modern challenges” and should take into account “the long-term national interests of full interoperability with NATO security system.”
The communiqué was signed by 27 experts and politicians, including former Defense Ministers Davit Sikharulidze and Tinatin Khidasheli, former Deputy Defense Ministers Giorgi Muchaidze, Batu Kutelia and Nodar Kharshiladze, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs MP Sergi Kapanadze, and former ambassador to the European Union MP Salome Samadashvili. Current Secretary of the National Security Council David Rakviashvili also signed the communiqué.
Speaking at the Tbilisi Strategic Discussion meeting on June 2, President Giorgi Margvelashvili said the “the defense system should be adequate of the challenges facing the country,” adding that “it should be based on the peculiarities of Georgia, rather than on the general principles.”
“The constitution should be drafted through taking our mistakes into consideration: we have experienced a military confrontation within the country, where the Georgian Armed Forces participated. We should remember this period; this is an experience, which should be reflected in the Constitution,” the President added.