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5 Dec, 2008 16:35

Georgian PM sacks four cabinet members

The Georgian Prime Minister, Grigol Mgaloblishvili, has announced the dismissal of several key figures from his cabinet. He revealed on Friday that the Ministers for foreign affairs, defence, education and culture will all leave their posts.

Their replacements in the cabinet have also been announced. Batu Kutelia replaced Defence Minister David Kezerashvili and Grigol Vashadze took the post of Eku Tkeshelashvili as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Grigol Mgaloblishvili said: “Amid the challenges that Georgia faces today, foreign policy needs strengthening, and so we are proposing that the office of foreign minister be given to Grigol Vashadze, a more experienced diplomat.”

Batu Kutelia is promoted from Deputy Defence Minister, while Grigol Vashadze leaves his job as Minister for Culture, Heritage Preservation and Sport. He had previously worked as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Former Justice Minister Nika Gvaramia becomes the new Education Minister and former ambassador to Russia Zurab Abashidze is now the Minister of Culture.

Grigol Mgaloblishvili has also announced that President Mikhail Saakashvili dismissed Aleksandr Lomaya as Security Council secretary. Lomaya will be given another diplomatic role.

Experts assume the shake-up is a reaction to the NATO membership action plan refusal.