Georgia-US defence cooperation “upgraded in all formats” - Minister

Georgian Defence Minister Juansher Burchuladze on Tuesday spoke about his office’s plans, cooperation with the US. Photo: Defence Ministry press office, 02 Mar 2023 - 12:22, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Defence Minister Juansher Burchuladze on Wednesday told Rustavi 2 channel his country’s cooperation with the United States had been “upgraded in all formats”.

In his interview for the channel, the Minister pointed to his latest visit to Washington earlier last month and his engagement in the US-established Ukraine Defence Contact Group in Brussels, saying the meetings “once again demonstrated the high-level partnership” between the two states. 

Emphasising the Pentagon’s decision during his visit to allocate additional $33 million in security aid for Georgia, Burchuladze said he had also discussed his office’s long-term needs with US officials and potential support from the country. 

In other topics on Georgia’s defence sector, the Minister praised conditions provided for the country's servicememembers as “better than in most European states”, and noted their wages had been increased by 40 percent since 2020 thanks to an initiative by Prime Minister Irakli’s Garibashvili.

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili in January was hosted for a demonstration of drones carried out by the Georgian-Polish joint defence enterprise. Photo: Government press office.

He also said the Georgian Defence Forces enjoyed “better food, living conditions, equipment and infrastructure than many in NATO member states”. 

Burchuladze also told the interview in contrast to the Government's efforts to further improve social conditions for servicemembers, a part of domestic political forces was engaged in “unfounded negative PR campaign” by accusing his office of misspending of funds, a claim he rejected by saying “absolutely all financial agreements” involving the Ministry except classified information were being made public by the body through its website.

In comments on the recently launched domestic drone production facility in a joint Polish-Georgian effort, Burchuladze said production and testing of “several drones” was expected to take place next month.