|Updated: 13-Jun-2003||NATO Speeches|
13 June 2003
by Lt. General David Tevzadze Minister of Defence of Georgia
NATO Prague summit has outlined new realities on international arena. Georgia welcomes the new wave of NATO enlargement that one more time witnesses alliance's commitment to its open door policy.
The Prague summit has a historical importance for Georgia after President E. Shevardnadze announced the integration into the Euro-Atlantic institutions as primary goal of Georgia's foreign policy. The Georgian government works on preparing our state to be reliable and interoperable partner for our allies. We have elaborated "State Program of the Euro-Atlantic Integration of Georgia", the second chapter of which is referred to defence and military issues.
We believe that alliance new initiative, Individual Partnership Action Plan (1PAP), will be extremely valuable mechanism for us in NATO integration process. Georgia is completing the IPAP's first draft, which soon will be distributed to NATO staff and Allies for their comments.
To be a reliable partner of the Alliance in addressing the new security challenges, interoperability continues to be a core of our cooperation with NATO and contributes to Georgia's aspirations for NATO membership. PARP implementation is one of the priorities of our defence reform. We intensify our efforts to gain necessary funds from state budget for this purposes and focus bilateral military assistance on fulfilling PARP requirements.
Georgia strives to be not just a security consumer, but security provider as well. In addition to the Infantry Platoon operating under Tu Bn, last month Georgia deployed one Infantry Company - 140 troops to Kosovo within Multinational Brigade South Area of Responsibility.
We support the idea of geographically oriented NATO annual exercise in South Caucasus region to be hosted on a rotational basis. The idea on PfP training center in South Caucasus with language training, ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning) and Simulation capability shall be considered worth of investment by interested Allies and Partners.
Terrorism represents the most serious challenges to the international security and stability. We can effectively fight this threat only by Euro-Atlantic community's unified efforts. We have to coordinate our activities and develop programs taking into account new risks and threats to us.
One of the causes of terrorism in the Euro-Atlantic area is the existence of breakaway regions. It should be noted that having separatist territories out of the central government control makes especially difficult to counter terrorist threat. The so-called, White Spots" with their separatist regimes provide the safe haven for terrorist and criminal activities, such as: drugs and arms traffiking, illegal deals on Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), etc. Vigorous steps are needed in settling down "frozen" conflicts, establishing international transparency and restoring a control of the central government on the territories of breakaway regions.
Georgia is a part of the anti-terrorist coalition, from the very beginning of the military campaign in Afghanistan we provided our air-space for the coalition airplanes, in Pankisi gorge several terrorists were detained with links to Al-Qaeda, one of the tasks of the units trained under GTE? is to contribute to the anti-terrorist efforts of international community. We also plan to participate in "stability operations" in Iraq. Georgian contingent at initial stage will consist of one Special Forces Platoon, EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Team and Team of Medical specialists.
One of the most essential issues today is security and stability building in Iraq. From the very beginning Georgian government has supported approach of the US Administration on Iraq, realizing that Iraqi Regime with its destructive policy posed a threat to the international society and hindered the peaceful and democratic development of its own nation.
Today, when the regime of Saddam Hussein is removed the role of Euro-Atlantic institutions must be crucial in order to ensure economic rehabilitation and democratic changes in this state. Accomplishment of this goal will make Iraq full-fledged member of the international community of nations and will be the best evidence to the indivisibility of the Euro-Atlantic community and steadiness of the trans-Atlantic links.
In conclusion I would like to outline that Georgia stands at the critical point of its development. Integration into the European and Euro-Atlantic institutions will finally establish our country as a stable democracy. We fully acknowledge, the importance of defence reforms in this process, accordingly we won't spare any efforts to transform Georgian Armed Forces and speed up Georgia's strives towards NATO.