NATO Secretary General`s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia pays an official visit to Georgia. First Mr. James Appathurai met with Minister of Defence Mindia Janelidze.
A key topic of the meeting was discussing implementation details of the Substantial Package granted to Georgia at the NATO Wales Summit. The sides focused on the commitments undertaken by Georgia with regard to realizing the new package of enhanced cooperation with NATO. As Minister outlined, timely implementation of the package is a main priority of the country and expressed hope that NATO will help Georgia to carry out the directions set out in the package. Mr. Appathurai stressed that Ministry of Defence goes in a right direction-“ We have from the recent NATO Summit a blueprint of implementing the package which will help Georgia move closer to NATO membership. Ministry is focused very much on implementation on making it real, detailed and what each step will be putting the resources in place. NATO is already participating very actively and we are already identifying the people who will be coming in here, defining where the joint training center will be – that’s a Georgian decision of course, hopefully we can define it together. There will be further high-level visits to focus on implementation.”
Discussions referred to the current reforms in the Ministry of Defence and the future plans. As Mr. Mindia Janelidze highlighted, the transformation process will continue successfully and Georgia remains committed to contribute to the NATO and EU-led international operations. Next year Georgia will engage in the “Resolute Support” mission in Afghanistan and NATO Response Forces.
Mr. James Appathurai thanked the Georgian side for participation in international peacekeeping missions: “I also passed the message to the Minister – this is to thank Georgia for the contribution your country is making to NATO-led mission and continue to make but also to other operations in other theaters like in Africa. This is a small country that makes a huge contribution. Georgian forces are in some very difficult areas and we know how difficult that is. You will see a lot more of NATO in Georgia, we see a lot more Georgia in NATO every year and we continue to be the case.”
Minister summed up the results of the meeting: “It was a very fruitful meeting. First, we have reviewed the issues of current cooperation. A key topic of the discussion regarded the NATO Substantial Package granted to Georgia at the Wales summit and its implementation process. NATO Headquarters and Mr. Appathurai as the NATO Secretary General`s Special Representative will be actively engaged in the elaboration of implementation plan. I hope that it will be finally agreed and approved at the NATO-Georgia Commission session due to be held during Defence Ministerial in February of next year. We, in our turn, will do our outmost to realize the substantial NATO-Georgia package that is actually directed to strengthen defence capabilities and security of our country.”
In the framework of the visit, the NATO representative will meet Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Davit Bakradze, Chairman of the Georgian Parliament Davit Usupashvili and parliamentary majority and minority members.