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New Chief of Staff Appointed
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 25 Aug.'04 / 20:11

President Saakashvili said on August 25 that Vakhtang Kapanadze was appointed as a new Chief of Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, replacing Givi Iukuridze. Kapanadze previously served as Iukuridze’s deputy.

Georgian President explained reshuffle with “the restructuring of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.” “The new leadership of the General Staff will be composed with the persons who have undergone western military education,” he added.

“Givi Iukuridze [ex-Chief of Staff], who received military education in Russia, did everything he could. But we need a new structure, which will meet the NATO standards,” Mikheil Saakashvili said, while addressing the Georgian cabinet session, which is held in Batumi, capital of Adjara Autonomous Republic.

Major General Givi Iukuridze will become Georgia’s military attaché to Russia, Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania told reporters on August 25.

Mamuka Nikolaishvili and Davit Nairashvili became new Chief of Staff’s deputies. “All of them [Kapanadze, Nikolaishvili and Nairashvili] are western-educated persons,” President Saakashvili said.

Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania said on August 25, that President Saakashvili was “dissatisfied with the work of Givi Iukuridze.” “We expect the General Staff of the Armed Forces to be more active in process of building armed forces,” Zurab Zhvania, who together with other cabinet members visits Adjara Autonomous Republic, said.

Georgian media speculates that the decision to dismiss Givi Iukuridze comes after analysis of the reasons for the military casualties in South Ossetia in August. Georgian State Minister for Conflict Resolution Issues Goga Khaindrava also hinted that the developments in South Ossetia were the reason of Iukuridze’s dismissal.

“Georgia lost 16 soldiers in last couple of weeks [during the clashes with the South Ossetian militias]; this is inadmissible,” Goga Khaindrava told Tbilisi-based Imedi radio station on August 25.

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