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Alasania Resigns with Politics in Mind
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 6 Dec.'08 / 03:25

Irakli Alasania. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Irakli Alasania, Georgia’s former ambassador to the UN, said he had filed for resignation on December 4 and would announce about his future plans after he arrives in Tbilisi “in nearest future.”

The first unconfirmed information about Alasania’s resignation emerged in the first half of December 5. In the evening on the same day PM Grigol Mgaloblishvili convened a news conference and made a surprise announce about a reshuffle in the cabinet, which won parliamentary confidence vote only thirty five days ago. 

At the same news conference, Grigol Vashadze, who was appointed as a news Foreign Minister, said with all of his deputies and all ambassadors should file resignations.

When asked about Alasania’s resignation, Vashadze responded he was not aware about it, but added that the Georgia’s UN envoy “should anyway file a resignation” as part of an overall 

Late in the evening on December 5, President Saakashvili met with PM Mgaloblishvili and said that consultations with in the authorities were underway about the planned reshuffle for last several weeks. “It was the first time that there were no leaks in the press about these plans,” Saakashvili said.

In a brief interview with the Tbilisi-based Kavkasia TV, Irakli Alasania, said that he filed resignation a day before the announced cabinet reshuffle, which also resulted into resignation of Georgia’s diplomatic corps.

“I signed a letter of resignation on December 4 and sent it to the Foreign Ministry. I have informed about it Foreign Minister, Eka Tkeshelashvili, and President Saakashvili was also informed about my decision,” Alasania said via phone from New York.

He also said that he had been considering about resignation recently, but he also said he did not want to do that before the NATO foreign ministerial summit, citing that he did not want “to hamper certain processes” – Alasania did not go further into details on the matter.

“I will speak about the details of the motives of my resignation and about my future plans when I arrive back to Tbilisi in the nearest future,” he added in an apparent attempt to hint on his political plans.

The fist major sign tentatively suggesting about Alasania’s possible resignation emerged less than a month ago when he said in an interview with the Georgian daily, 24 Saati (24 Hours) that it is of vital importance for Georgia “to create such an institutional system of decision-making, which will rule out unilateral decisions and will reduce threat of Georgia’s involvement in provocations.”

Although Alasania has yet to announce about his plans, speculations were circulating in the Georgian press recently about his possible cooperation with an opposition alliance, which is planned by the Republican and New Rights parties.

Pikria Chichradze of the New Rights Party told Civil.Ge on December 5 that the two parties were holding “certain consultations” with Alasania. She, however, also said that it was too early at this stage to speak about “making Alasania a leader” of the alliance planned by the two parties.

After the August war, when the Georgian leadership was considering the cabinet reshuffle, the Georgian press was reporting that President Saakashvili had offered Alasania to take the post of the Prime Minister, but the latter reportedly declined after he was refused by the President to give him an authority to control so called power-wielding ministries – the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Within last year, when there were information leaks about the planned cabinet reshuffles, the Georgian press was often reporting about Alasania’s possible appointment on the post of the Defense Minister.

As a result of the December 5 cabinet reshuffle the post of the Defense Minister has in fact become vacant, as no one has been appointment instead of Davit Kezerashvili. His deputy, Batu Kutelia, is now an acting defense minister.

“I do not rule out that the post was left vacant deliberately, as President Saakashvili may still try to convince Alasania to work with him and take this post,” Koba Liklikadze, a commentator and a journalists for the RFE/RL Georgian service, says.

Alasania, who will turn 35 this month, was Georgia’s deputy security minister in 2002-2004 – at the time when the Security Minister’s position was held by Valery Khaburdzania.

In his testimony to the parliamentary commission studying the August war on November 28, President Saakashvili also mentioned Khaburdzania in the context of his first meeting with then Russian President Vladimir Putin in February, 2004.

“He told us that our security minister – Valery Khaburdzania – was his friend and asked us to take care of him and not to touch him [meaning not to sack him]. I have nothing against Valery Khaburdzania, but the fact is that Putin, the leader of the state, which was bombing us, told me that our security minister was their friend,” Saakashvili told the commission.

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