The NATO-Georgia Commission (NGC) at the level of Foreign Ministers met in Brussels today to discuss the process of reforms within Georgia’s Annual National Programme and the course for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration process. NGC Ministers reaffirmed the central role of the NATO-Georgia Commission and the Annual National Programme in carrying out the Bucharest and Strasbourg/Kehl decisions. They expressed their commitment to continue strengthening dialogue and practical cooperation at all levels of the NATO-Georgia relationship.
NATO Ministers welcomed the progress Georgia showed in a number of areas in implementing its Annual National Programme (ANP) goals, welcomed the smooth transition from the Individual Partnership Action Plan to the ANP, and commended Georgia for the effective intra-governmental process coordinating reforms. NATO Ministers welcomed the initiation of dialogue regarding electoral and constitutional reforms in Georgia. At the same time, they noted that much work remains to be done to implement reforms, and that the Georgian Government, as well as opposition forces, must demonstrate political will in implementing democratic reforms. NATO Ministers noted that they attach great importance to the conduct of free and fair local elections in Georgia in spring 2010. They encouraged Georgia to deepen reforms regarding media freedom and the rule of law. They welcomed Georgia’s decision to conduct a broad review of its security sector, but noted the need for more effective defence planning and financial and human resource management. NGC Ministers welcomed the successful start of the Professional Development Programme for Civilian Personnel of the Georgian Ministry of Defence and Other Security Institutions, managed by NATO. NGC Ministers also welcomed the work that has been done thus far to establish a NATO Liaison Office in Georgia, but noted that further work in this regard is required.
NATO Ministers expressed strong appreciation for Georgia’s decision to make a substantial contribution to ISAF, to include an infantry company and an infantry battalion without national caveats. NATO Ministers welcomed these contributions as a demonstration of Georgia’s commitment to our shared security.
NGC Ministers expressed their strong support for the international process of negotiations in Geneva, and expressed their regret over the Russian veto of the UN and OSCE missions in Georgia. NGC Ministers urged Russia to fulfil all of its commitments with regard to Georgia under the EU-mediated cease-fire agreement, and urged Russia not to undertake any steps that undermine the security of Georgia. They expressed their strong support for the work of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM), and stressed the need for international monitors to have unimpeded access to the entire territory of Georgia, including throughout the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of the country. NATO Ministers reaffirmed their strong support for Georgia’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity as recognised by international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions. They noted Georgia’s full compliance with the EU-mediated cease-fire agreement, welcomed Georgia’s good cooperation with the EUMM, and expressed concern about the detention of Georgian civilians near the administrative boundary lines, including minors. NATO Ministers reaffirmed their strict policy of non-recognition of the “independence” of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia, and called once again on Russia to reverse its decision in this regard.
Foreign Minister Vashadze outlined the Georgian Government’s efforts to deepen reforms under the Annual National Programme. He reaffirmed Georgia’s commitment to peaceful resolution of conflicts, full implementation of obligations under the EU-mediated cease-fire agreement, full cooperation with the European Union Monitoring Mission, and constructive participation in the Geneva Talks. Minister Vashadze also drew attention to human rights violations on the occupied territories and adjacent villages and continuing security incidents that undermine the fragile security situation in the region.