New Defence Code drafted in cooperation with allies, will increase NATO compliance - Deputy Minister

Grigol Giorgadze, the Georgian Deputy Defence Minister, on Tuesday addressed the Parliament over the country’s new Defence Code. Photo: Defence Ministry press office, 11 Jul 2023 - 15:19, Tbilisi,Georgia

Grigol Giorgadze, the Georgian Deputy Defence Minister, on Tuesday told the Parliament the country’s new Defence Code had been developed with an “active engagement” of foreign partners, and said the document was expected to increase Georgia’s interoperability with NATO.

Answering lawmakers’ questions ahead of the second reading of the bill, the official noted his body had also drafted and approved a 10-year-plan for the development of the Georgian Defence Forces with the support of the alliance and the United States, adding the new Code would create a legal basis for the implementation of the reforms outlined in the plan. 

While expressing his gratitude to the public for their support to the new legislation, Giorgadze alleged several domestic opposition groups were “trying to discredit it to benefit their own, narrow, political interests” while the US, NATO and other international partners of the country were “positively” assessing the document. 

Rejecting the opposition’s claims that the mandatory military service part of the bill was “discriminatory” to some religious denominations in the country, Giorgadze said it also offered an alternative labour service to members of “all confessions” in Georgia. 

He added all religious representatives, including Orthodox Christian clerics, would be allowed to postpone their military service, before pointing to the Ministry’s work with domestic religious denominations while drafting the bill. 

The official also highlighted while the Code aimed to strengthen the professional military service, a “well-trained” reserve outlined in it was also important considering security challenges facing the country.