'Georgia will manage to overcome current serious challenges' - Georgian expert explains NATO-Georgia drills | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

20 June, Thursday


'Georgia will manage to overcome current serious challenges' - Georgian expert explains NATO-Georgia drills

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NATO and Georgia started  NATO-Georgia Exercise 2019 with 350 servicemen from 24 countries. It has been started on 18 March and it will last 12 days.

NATO's chief Jens Stoltenberg stated about the acceptance of Georgia to NATO. 

“It is the NATO principle that each nation has the sovereign right to make its own decisions. Each nation has the right to choose its future. When we are ready, Georgia will become a NATO member and only NATO and Georgia and no third country will make the decision,” Stoltenberg said.

Eurasia Diary took an exclusive interview by Georgian political analyst Ghia Abashidze for the evaluation of significant relations.

 

- What is your attitude to the Stoltenberg statement ( acceptation of Georgia to NATO)?

- NATO’s Secretary General’s recent visit to Georgia was another important page in the NATO-Georgia relations book. The visit has had several implications internationally, domestically and regionally. Once again Mr Stoltenberg emphasized on strong support towards Georgia’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and unacceptability of  Russian occupation breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia calling again the Kremlin to withdraw its military forces from the Georgian territories. On the other hand, NATO SG stated again that the Alliance’s door is open for Georgia and the country will be there soon. That ‘soon’ has become quite lengthy time-wise. Actually, since 90s various Georgian leaders have heard that narrative at the highest levels in the West.

Domestically, the visit was important for the government for once again showing to the society that amid some opposition’s criticism that nothing is done to keep Georgia on the “international radar”, the country irreversible carries on to the closer integration with the Euro-Atlantic axis.  Whether would be such high-level visits, important agreements, deep cooperation with the EU, the US and other important players of the wider region.

Interestingly, NATO SG also stressed on the assistance of providing training for Georgian Coast Guard boarding teams and cooperation between NATO’s Maritime Command with Georgia’s Joint Maritime Operations Centre and further specific plans on how to enhance that collaboration not least between the maritime forces.

It was particularly pleasent that the Alliance’s head met with Georgian armed forces members wounded and injured in international missions and thanked them for their immense contributions in fighting global terrorism.

 

- How it is possible, and which things prevent Georgia from the acceptation to NATO?

- As it is extensively mentioned numerously worldwide among Georgia’s allies and wider circle of experts and was stressed by the Secretary-General in Tbilisi, Georgia has made a lot of progress in important reforms and modernizing the armed forces. However, due to some geopolitical turbulences and peculiarities of the political agenda in some member states, the ultimate Euro-Atlantic integration of Georgia and Ukraine is somehow hindered. We do hope here as well as our friends and partners externally do, that with further deep and comprehensive political and economic reforms Georgia will become such an “exemplary disciple” that it will be very hard for all members of the Alliance to resist in handing out the NATO “diploma” i.e. granting membership to Georgia in a foreseeable future.

 

- Do you think that this action will damage relations with Russia, and what can be the Russian reaction?

- Russia will continue to threaten Georgia for its Euro-Atlantic aspirations, the practice that the Kremlin has been exercising for years. The Alliance at its borders is a sensitive issue for Moscow and they even dare to express hostile intentions against Finland and Sweden for their closer military co-operation with the NATO countries. In spite of all Russian threats, security risks and creeping occupation in Georgia with a stronger comprehensive partnership with the strong, united West, Georgia will manage to overcome current serious challenges and continue its irreversible movement to its historic roots – European family.

 

Ghia Abashidze is a Georgian political analyst and expert on international and Georgia's domestic politics

 

Interviewed by Ulvi Ahmedli

Eurasia Diary

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