Welcoming Remarks by the Secretary General
                        to Chairman Shevardnadze
                             23rd June 1993

          Today we are honoured to have with us the Chairman of
the Georgian Parliament and Head of State, Eduard Shevardnadze. 
This visit is of great importance to our common efforts to
develop close ties between Georgia and our Atlantic Alliance. 
Allow me thus, on behalf of the North Atlantic Council, to extend
a very warm welcome to Chairman Shevardnadze.

          Mr. Chairman, this is the second time that we welcome
you here at NATO Headquarters.  On the last occasion, you served
in a different function.  Then, as the Foreign Minister of the
Soviet Union, you symbolised a popular will to move towards
democracy and to embrace social and economic reform.  Your visit
to NATO in December 1989 was the first such visit by a Minister
from a country of Central or Eastern Europe.  It was a landmark
event, a clear signal that the Cold War had come to an end.  

          Today, as Chairman of the Parliament and Georgian Head
of State, you again hold key responsibilities in a difficult
process of political and economic reform.  And you come at a
moment when our hopes for a new international order are
confronted with the brutal reality of a number of severe crises
and conflicts.

          Our Alliance remains committed to building a just and
lasting order of peace in Europe; one based on full adherence to
the principles embodied in the CSCE documents and which allows
all nations to enjoy security and cooperation.  We seek to engage
Georgia fully in this common endeavour.  In particular, we must
find ways of dealing with regional conflicts that can undermine
stability and security in Europe.  The conflict in Abkhazia, like
conflicts elsewhere, undercuts political and economic reform and
the prospects for a successful transition.  Left to fester, it
can undermine stability in the Caucasus and beyond.    

          Just as the resolution of regional conflicts is a
precondition for peace and stability, so cooperative relations
among states cannot be developed without respect for human rights
and democracy.

          Like many other countries in Central and Eastern
Europe, Georgia is experiencing a painful social and economic
transition, which in its case has been aggravated by natural
disasters, such as the terrible earthquake in April 1991.  But
Georgia is also a nation with resources of its own, and with a
proud people and culture.  Our Alliance looks to the leadership
of Georgia to pursue a policy of reform and to achieve their
country's full potential.  

          We in the Alliance will do everything we can to assist
you and your country in these common challanges.  Georgia's
participation in the North Atlantic Cooperation Council has
opened up important prospects for cooperation in areas where our
experience and expertise can be useful to your security.  The
recent establishment of an Embassy in Brussels will, I am sure,
help Georgia to make full use of the opportunities the NACC
provides.  Our efforts to develop the process of cooperation
within the NACC and make it even more responsive to the specific
needs of individual cooperation partners will, I hope, be of
benefit also to your country. 

          Chairman Shevardnadze, we are delighted to have you
here today with us, and look forward to what you have to say to
us and our subsequent discussion.