Joint press point
by the NATO Secretary General and the Chairman of the Georgian Parliament
DAVID BAKRADZE (Chairman of the Georgian Parliament): Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I'm honoured to greet in the Parliament of Georgia the Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and to welcome as a delegation of Ambassadors to NATO.
As you know today we have a NAC meeting in Parliament of Georgia. It is a very important meeting, you know, and such meetings usually reflect the special kind of relations which are between NATO and this partner (inaudible). Actually this is the second occasion that in Georgia we have such a meeting here in Tbilisi and I think it is one of the proofs and evidences of the special deep relations that exist between NATO and Georgia.
It's very a significant fact for us that after Bucharest Summit, after 2008, we can say just that now Georgia is closer to NATO than it has ever been. Now Georgia is closer to NATO than it was in Bucharest, for instance, three years ago, and it's very important for us to continue this process of approximation, of coming closer.
And of course, in this cooperation the ultimate goal for us is membership of Georgia in NATO, to achieve the task, the aim, which is clearly elaborated in the decision of Bucharest Summit, a partnership of Georgia and NATO. It is a success story. It has a successful development, and after Bucharest very many changes... very many things changed in our relations. We have very many elements, components necessary for success. We have annual plan, national plan in accordance with ANP we cooperate with NATO on an annual basis. We have NATO-Georgia Commission. It is a very important tool on the way to approximation and accession.
And of course, we'll have obligation of Bucharest and aspiration and the desire of NATO that was clearly formulated that Georgia will become the member. And when we implement all these elements successfully this is a condition for Georgia that Georgia will become the member of NATO and today I can declare that we are, Georgia, is closer to NATO than we have ever been during our history.
And we hope that the next Summit, Chicago Summit, will be one more possibility to evidence the success in our relations, and I hope that one more step will be made forward to approximation, to coming closer to NATO from the side of Georgia.
And of course we understand also that we have to do a lot for this process, for the success of this process. So that is why the success of Georgia, becoming Georgia, modern European country, continuing reforms, strengthening reforms, deepening these reforms, all this creates the pre-condition. So together with all the above-mentioned tools Georgia's integration in NATO to become successful. It is interest of Georgia and I'm sure that is of NATO's interest, and I hope that by our joint efforts we will be able to achieve this ultimate goal.
Once more, let me express gratitude to the NATO Secretary General for his support. We have listened many times to his support and position, and about Georgia, about Georgia's territorial integrity, about Georgia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations and let me express gratitude to him personally, to members of NAC as well, and I hope that this today visit in Georgia will be successful and it will facilitate us in further deepening of Georgia-NATO relations.
Let me ask now Mr. Secretary General of NATO to take the floor.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN (Secretary General of NATO): Thank you very much. Chairman Bakradze and I have had a very fruitful meeting this morning and it is a great pleasure for the NATO Council to visit your Parliament. Because Parliament is the keystone of democracy and democracy is the keystone of Georgia's future.
The Georgian people want to live in a modern and mature democracy. And as an Alliance of values and democracies NATO wants to see that happen.
Georgia has already achieved much. Today we discussed your progress in consolidating the rule of law and democracy, and looked at the challenges that lie ahead. Next year Georgian citizens will elect a new Parliament. Those elections will be an important indicator of how strong Georgia's democratic institutions are.
Georgia is already a strong partner, and I look forward to the day when you will be a strong member of our Alliance, as we agreed at our Bucharest Summit in 2008.
Membership for any country takes work, reforms and commitment and Parliament will continue to play an essential role in this. And with patience and with perseverance that work can be done.
NATO wants Georgia to do it, and NATO will help you to do it.