Updated: 29-Nov-2005 NATO Speeches


28 Nov . 2005

Video interview with Zurab Noghaideli,
Prime Minister of Georgia


Video of the interview
High resolution photos of the visit

Q: Prime Minister, welcome. Georgia has very ambitious goals with regard to its relationship with NATO. Your president has publicly stated that he hopes Georgia will achieve NATO membership by 2009. What steps is Georgia taking to achieve its ambitious goals?

ZURAB NOGHAIDELI (Prime Minister of Georgia): We're currently working on implementation of IPAP we have agreed with NATO last year. I think we successfully implement IPAP. Most of the reforms are on track. Some of them are lagging behind... But we have doubled our efforts to this direction and I think that we will successfully complete IPAP. As soon as IPAP is successfully completed, we hope to get invitation for MAP and eventually the membership for the next summit which is due in 2008 or 9.

Q: In addition to being Prime Minister you're also a chairman of the State Commission tasked with implementing Georgia 's Individual Action Plan IPAP with NATO. Can you tell me what are the main successes of the IPAP process so far? And what are the areas you see that need improvement?

ZURAB NOGHADELI: I think we have been very successful, again, in IPAP's implementation. There were several issues, especially in the political reform, economic reform agenda which we have successfully implemented. In most of the cases, truly, the countries who were accessing NATO before they were more successful in defence reform rather than in political reforms. We have been doing it vice versa. The political reforms went ahead faster than the defence reforms maybe. But again, as I have said, we're doubling our efforts in implementing of our defence reform as well. For instance, SDR, the Strategic Defence Review, will do slower that we have initially planned. But anyways, we will be very much moving ahead with that and all the things which need to complete IPAP successfully will be done.

Q: I understand that one of the reasons you've come to NATO today is to discuss the Georgian peaceful proposals for South Ossetia . Can you give us a sense of what the main elements of this plan are?

NOGHAIDELI: The main elements, the vision of South Ossetia conflict resolution by peaceful means and by exclusively peaceful means has been outlined by the president during the 2004 General Assembly of United Nations. And these three phases included the demilitarization of the region, the economic rehabilitation of the region and then political negotiations over the steps. But now we have come out with the road map, with the concrete plans and proposals which we have reported to the NATO Council. And it was very important for us to hear encouragement and support behind our peace plan. Because what we need to show? We need to show democratic transformation is bringing peaceful coexistence for the people, the democratic transformation is being in peace and stability for the people. And this we have reported to the NATO Council today.

Q: Georgia and Russia have, at times, a tumultuous relationship. How do assess the current state of Georgia and Russia relations? And what do you think the future holds for your country's relationship with Russia?

ZURAB NOGHAIDELI: We have some negatives and some positives as always. I think that's the... I mean, the normal, usual behaviour. It was very important that these, maybe, have agreed on Russian military base withdrawal for Georgia. That was quite an achievement. And it significantly eases the tensions between the countries. Because, first of all, these military bases had no military meaning after all. There was outdated military equipment. There was only 3,000 people present at the bases, two bases, but it has held a lot of problems in bilateral relations. So the military base withdrawal was a critical element for us. So we're moving ahead with that. It's also important to know that the withdrawal is going according to the schedule agreed.

At the same time, there are some other components of our bilateral relations we have... where we have problems like the gas price, nature of gas price for Georgia has been doubled. It was a purely political decision. It has no economic ground that is... you know... which is bringing some negative in our relation. So at the same time, during discussion of the peace plan, South Ossetia plan recently, last week actually, with the Foreign Minister Lavrov there were some optimistic signs. Because Foreign Ministers have said, for instance, that they would support a three phase approach and they'll come up with a three phase approach. They're saying the current framework needs to be utilised while we insist on changing of it. And we've invited the United States, European Union, and OSCE to play a more active role. But also, I should say that if the current framework is able to deliver and the decisions which have .... several times has been taken will be implemented then we shall see.

Q: What are the main benefits that Georgia hopes to get from its partnership with NATO? And what has Georgia offered to contribute in return?

ZURAB NOGHAIDELI: First of all, the NATO membership is dependent on the performance Georgia will do. And this performance is of double importance: first of all from the NATO integration point of view, but secondly also it is, you know, making us to work on our homework which otherwise or anyways without the NATO membership integration would be important. And this is one thing to mention. But certainly the most important element is interrelated security of Europe . I think that after joining NATO, Georgia will be more secure, but it is also very important to mention that with Georgia joining NATO, Europe altogether will be more secure.

Q: Prime Minister, thank you very much for taking time to talk to us.

ZURAB NOGHAIDELI: Thank you very much.

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