|Updated: 08-Jun-2001||NATO Speeches|
by Lt. Gen. David Tevzadze, Minister of Defence of Georgia
The EAPC provides an excellent framework for dialogue and consultation between NATO and Partners, thereby enhancing transparency and building confidence. Military-to-military contacts through joint activities such as military exercises serve as a meaningful part of the process of confidence building among nations in various regions of the Euro-Atlantic area. This month, Georgia hosts Cooperative Partner-2001, which is the first NATO/Partner full-scale field exercise in South Caucasus.
In the context of PfP's contributions to Euro-Atlantic crisis management capabilities, I would like to mention new initiative of Black Sea littoral countries - the BLACKSEAFOR (Naval Co-operation Task Force). The agreement on the establishment of the force was signed in Istanbul on April 2, 2001. Preparations are currently under-way to activate the force in September 2001.
The BLACKSEAFOR is a regional, stand-alone and at the same time a transparent arrangement. The activity of the BLACKSEAFOR is neither directed against any state nor intended to form a military alliance against any state or a group of states. It's mission is to contribute to the further strengthening of friendship, good relations and mutual confidence among the Black Sea littoral states as well as to promote peace and stability in the region, through the enhancement of co-operation and interoperability among the naval forces.
We welcome increased emphasis of PfP program in promoting defence reform, which was several times outlined by the Secretary General in his statements. We consider PARP Ministerial Guidance as an important tool in assisting us to review our Partnership Goals in a new PARP cycle. We believe that tailoring our IPP and harmonisation of the various PfP programs with PARP is in the best interests of all the Partners. It helps us in focusing on defence reform by exploring opportunities of various PfP programs and tools.
We welcome continuous focus in EAPC format on promoting regional security cooperation in South East Europe and Caucasus. The security in the Caucasus region cannot be separated from the European security in large. However, the events in South Eastern Europe show that a failure to fully commit and provide unconditional and comprehensive support in building strong, democratic, and stable states could turn apart whole Europe. Therefore, the regional cooperation in South Caucasus in EAPC format needs to be re-invigorated not only within Ad Hoc Working Group format. EAPC's wider approach in promoting stability and resolving conflicts in the region is needed. The appointment of Special Representative of the Secretary General for Caucasus region could be one of the first steps in this direction.
Thank you for your attention.
Complementary material to the Statement
Since the inception of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Georgia has year-by-year tried to gain its foothold in the European community and to contribute to the overall European security system.
Currently Georgia's defence and security institutions are under the reorganisation process. The reforms are under-way in the Ministry of Defence according to ISAB (International Security Advisory Board) and USECOM recommendations. Focus is on improving training and education systems, developing logistics, command, control, communications and intelligence systems compatible with NATO forces, with special attention to PARP declared units.
Our goal is an establishment of small, mobile, high readiness and cost effective army, with modern equipment, built along NATO standards and interoperable with NATO forces. But the reduction of the Armed Forces requires the special social measures to be taken for helping the exempted military personnel to be integrated as less painfully as possible. Keeping in mind hard budgetary deficiency the implementation of this task is quite a dilemma.
Despite the various impeding factors (mainly financial) considerable progress has been achieved:
· General Staff was functionally
separated from the Ministry of Defence;
Democratic control of the armed forces and civil-military relations are another pressing issues on the agenda. Increased civilian control on defence planning and more transparent defence expenditure are an important step forward in building new type of military in Georgia.
Our MoD staff previously was manned by military personnel. It is not a case anymore - we are trying to introduce more and more young and educated civil servants in order to replace military in a positions, which are not directly related to pure war fighting jobs. Deputy minister is already a civilian political appointee. By the year 2004 the staff of the Ministry of Defence will be mostly civilian, including minister himself.
According to the recommendations, the Defence Resource Management Division has moved from the General Staff to the MoD staff under the supervision of the Minister of Defence. Together with the representatives of the US Institute for Defense Analysis, Defence Resource Management Division determined specific priorities based on which the 2001-2010 Ministerial Guidance for the development of the Georgian Armed Forces was elaborated. This document includes short-term 2000-2005 and long-term 2006-2010 development programs.
One of the main priorities for us is also the development of the Georgian Joint Military Academy's curriculum in compliance with the model of the Sandhurst Academy, UK. That means the creation of one-year officers' training course. Western-trained Georgian military instructors will manage the training process.
At the same time, rigorous English language training is underway, which is a basement for deepening co-operation with NATO and Partner Armed Forces, and provides better opportunities in conducting joint exercises as well as enhances interoperability with NATO forces.
Georgia's participation in the PARP process underlines the strong determination of its government to complete successfully the reforms of armed forces. The first success in implementation of PGs was the Georgian platoon, which carries out peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. We are certain to continue on this direction with plans to introduce a light infantry company (11 Bde) by the end of 2001, and by the end of 2002 light infantry battalion, for NATO-led PSO. However, scarce resources available for our military makes extremely hard to fulfill the PGs in time.
PfP remains a valuable practical mechanism, which facilitates the accomplishment of objectives set by the military reforms. But the program is also a good tool for strengthening Georgia's political ties with the North Atlantic Alliance. Our continuous engagement in PfP is considered as of great importance for further NATO-Georgia relations.
The same reason raises the importance of the PFP Exercise "Cooperative Partner-2001", which is the first NATO/Partner full-scale live exercise in South Caucasus. To be conducted during 10-23 of June 2001, "Cooperative Partner" will be the first exercise held in Georgia under the Partnership for Peace Program.
The emphasis during this exercise will be placed upon enhancing greater understanding and confidence between NATO and participating Partner Nations in the planning and conducting Humanitarian Assistance Operations.
A commitment to conduct such an exercise, in terms of its complex logistics, was not an easy decision, because of really limited military and financial resources. Nevertheless, the decision was made, as one more clear expression of the national will to strengthen the ties of cooperation and friendship, to enhance its military capabilities in order to contribute to the international peace and stability.
In the context of regional cooperation
it's worth mentioning about the BLACKSEAFOR
(the Black Sea Naval Co-operation
Task Group) - the new initiation of
Black Sea littoral countries. The
agreement on the establishment of
the force was signed in Istanbul on
April 2, 2001. Preparations are currently
under-way to activate the force in
September 2001. The states parties
to that treaty are:
The BLACKSEAFOR is a regional, stand-alone and at the same time a transparent arrangement. The activity of the BLACKSEAFOR is neither directed against any state nor intended to form a military alliance against any state or a group of states.
The mission of the force will be
to contribute to the further strengthening
of friendship, good relations and
mutual confidence among the Black
Sea littoral states as well as to
improve peace and stability in the
region, through the enhancement of
co-operation and interoperability
among the naval forces.
When directed by the Foreign/Defense Ministers or their authorized representatives, the Force may conduct Peace Support Operations in support of United Nations Security Council and OSCE Resolutions, as well as operations against smuggling, organized crime and terrorism
The engagement in this new initiation of all Black Sea littoral countries gives a firm belief that BLACKSEAFOR will be a good contribution to the security of the Euro-Atlantic area and particularly to its Southern flank in the Black Sea region.
The participation of Russian Federation
in this agreement represents strong
basis for BLACKSEAFOR to promote the
cooperation and stability within the
Black Sea basin area.
Currently the agreement is achieved on full transfer of Vaziani military base (situated near Tbilisi) to the Georgian side till July 01 of 2001. The next round of negotiations about the duration of Russian forces presence in Batumi and Akhalkalaki is scheduled on the second half of June of 2001.
The support from international community in dialogue with Russia is vital for Georgia. We believe this support will continue to grow in future. The security in the Caucasus region cannot be separated from the European security in large. Instability in one part of the Euro-Atlantic area threatens the stability of the whole region.
Membership Action Plan launched on the Washington Summit, gives an invaluable opportunity and useful guidance (regulation) to the aspirant countries for bringing its political, economic, military, security, legal and other structures in compliance with NATO standards, preparing them towards prospective NATO membership.
Georgia aspires to play a significant role in enhancing the stability and mutual trust in our turbulent region. To transform Caucasus into the reliable and stable region, free of violence and capable to contribute to the peaceful development of the Euro-Atlantic area is the highest priority for Georgia.