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Updated: 29-Nov-2005 NATO Speeches

NATO HQ

28 Nov . 2005

Press point with NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and the Prime Minister of Georgia,
Zurab Noghaideli

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Multimedia
Video interview with H.E. Mr. Zurab Noghaideli
High resolution photos of the visit

MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Secretary General and the Prime Minister will each make a brief opening statement. There will be time for some questions. Secretary General.

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER (NATO Secretary General): Good afternoon, Ladies, Gentlemen. Let me start by warmly welcoming in his first time Georgia Prime Minister Noghaideli to NATO headquarters.

You know that NATO and Georgia have established a close relationship, are working on that close relationship in the framework of the Individual Partnership Action Plan. I had a bilateral conversation with the Prime Minister and afterward he came to the Northern Atlantic Council where, I think, he made an excellent presentation of... of Georgia 's case. And if I tell you about the mood in the Northern Atlantic Council, it was first of all the mood for support of the ambitions estated by the government of Georgia as far as the Euro-Atlantic ambition of Georgia is concerned.

Secondly, it supports for the difficult road... the long and winding road, let me say again, to Euro-Atlantic integration. Because we all know that the reforms which have.. which Georgia has to undertake are not easy. I have commended the Prime Minister about the coordination under his leadership of the whole process. I think if we look at the legislative process in Georgia , much headway has been made, much progress had been made. There are still a lot of things to do, of course, most... mainly and most importantly in the sector of defence reform where I think it should have a next frame impetus and where more progress should be made. But I've listened carefully and we have listened carefully to the Prime Minister. And the motivation and enthusiasm is clearly there. Ambassadors, of course, were grateful for Georgia as what I call an export of security. Georgia , as you know, is participating actively in ISAF, is participating actively in KFOR. And that is considered very, very important.

Needless to say that NATO will support Georgia wherever it needs assistance in implementing those difficult.. difficult reforms. And we realize there is still a long way to go. But NATO is there, ready to assist. You know these special representatives, ambassador Simmons is visiting the region and Tbilissi on a very regular basis to take stock of progress. And I'm told that in the framework of the Individual Partnership Action Plan we'll work together under the leadership, of course, of President Saakashvili and the Prime Minister visiting NATO today. To prevent further questions, let me end by saying that if you ask me questions. And I know that you're going to do that for timelines and days and months, I can't give you an answer. Because this process on the road to NATO integration is a performance based process. It depends on the way Georgia is performing and on the progress made in that performance. And that is the reason that might you want to ask me for dates and timelines this is the answer you'll get. At the same time, let me end by saying that I'll do my best as Secretary General to support in any way possible, to encourage the Prime Minister, the President and the Georgian people in any way I can to see that as much progress is made as possible. Prime Minister please.

ZURAB NBOGHAIDELI (Prime Minister of Georgia): Thank you, thank you very much, Minister Secretary General. It was very important day for us. We have present our policies to the NATO Council. The door for NATO is open for us. And that's a most important thing. And it was also being mentioned that no other country should be allowed to veto the Georgia 's NATO aspirations. And that's another very important thing for us. We understand that time... that timeline is set more by NATO than by Georgia . But it is also very important to know that NATO aspirations, or NATO integration of Georgia is dependent on Georgia because it is performance based. Most of the cases are moving ahead according to the schedule in IPAP implementation. There are some of the reforms that are behind yet. But we will be moving ahead with the double efforts to address these problems. But the most important element has been how encouraging the statement of ambassadors around the table and the statement of the Secretary General for us has been. And it is very important for us to have this encouragement, to held this international support for our NATO aspirations and for going on with the reforms in the country. From our side, I would like to say that all will be done and will be done in time. IPAP implement will be up to the pace. And we hope that we will be... we will be really moving ahead with the Membership Action Plan as soon the IPAP is completed. Thank you very much, Secretary General for today's meetings with you and then during the NATO. That was really encouraging. And we will be... we will be moving ahead with our homework.

MODERATOR: Questions?

Q: Georgian TV Rustavi 2. Did you discussed the new Georgian roadmap for... about the Tshkinvali region? And if you did, does NATO have its own role in this peace process or not?

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER: The Prime Minister informed us and the council extensively on the important contribution the Georgian government is making in trying to find a solution for South Ossetia . But of course, we also discuss Abkhazia. That's important. And that's, I think, a positive... a positve sign indeed for the stability in the region. As you know, NATO is not looking for a role in that process. If we discuss South Ossetia , it is the OSCE. And I know that the Prime Minister has presented and proposed to the permanent council of the OSCE in Ghana . The NATO is following, of course, this with interest. But NATO is not seeking a direct role in this process.

Q: Nick Firenza, Jane's Defence Weekly. Question to both gentlemen. What is the status of Georgia 's offer to participate in Operation Active Endeavour? What form might this participation take? And has the NAC decided on it yet?

ZURAB NOGHAIDELI: Georgia has offered to take part of these operations. Georgia is a very active partipant in operations in Kosovo , Afghanistan under the ISAF and KFOR umbrella. Georgia is also a participant of operations in Iraq . So Georgia is very actively participating in international operations. As the Secretary General has called us, the "exporter of security", this is not maybe to that extent. Our participation is not that big maybe, but if we will look per capita way then, our contribution is quite... quite large.

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER: I'll... I'll stick in commending the Prime Minister to my line, that... that...I mean although the contribution might be called modest by the Prime Minister, but nevertheless I think it's important. And what we say in NATO that NATO is alliance projecting stability. And Georgia participates in that process. I think that Georgia has a right to be qualified as projecting security with NATO.

As far as your question on Operation Active Endeavour is concerned, any support for that operation, including support by Georgia is very welcomed by the Allies. We do not know yet what form that support would take. But any form of support for Operation Active Endeavour is welcome because after all this is an operation, in a matter of time (?), NATO operation, as you know, which is having as its primary aim the fight against terrorism. And I think Georgia could be of assistance there. But this is a decision, of course, first of all, in Georgian hands and of the Georgian government.

Q: Thank you, thank you very much.

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Thank you very much

ZURAB NOGHAIDELI: Thank you, thank you very much.

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Come to us once again.

ZURAB NOGHAIDELI: Thank you very much.

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