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Georgia and Armenia take steps towards securing the border

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, October 22
Border security is one of the main preconditions for ensuring successful trade relations between the bordering countries. It also serves as prevention against crime and thus enables the countries to exchange mutual benefits across the border.

The United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) presented the results of the EU-funded Enhancement of the Border Management Capabilities at Ninotsminda-Bavra border crossing point between Georgia and Armenia (NBIBM) at the closing conference at Radisson Blu Iveria on October 15.

NBIBM Manager, Nikoloz Samkharadze, presented the results of the NBIBM project which started in October 2012 and ends in March 2014. He explained that the capacity building project was considered for a year, while afterwards it will continue with the infrastructural activities.

This 2.5 million Euro project has 100% EU contribution, while UNDP is the lead agency for the project's implementation. Latvia is the main partner together with France. Two project country offices are located in Tbilisi and Yerevan, while the UNDP country offices ensure a coordinated approach to the project implementation in Georgia and Armenia.

Head of UNDP in Georgia, Niels Scott, said to make the movement of people and goods across the border more fluent, and easier for people and transporters, in the standards of security is the big opportunity of the project.

The EU and the UNDP are assisting the governments of Armenia and Georgia to maintain open but secure borders. The program runs in co-operation with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the EU Member States Latvia, France.

The program demonstrated the advantages of Integrated Border Management as one of the most effective mechanisms for facilitating the movement of people and goods while at the same time maintaining secure borders. It also works to better equip border check-points and to ensure effective and modern border and customs control.

According to the Head of the EU Delegation to Georgia, Ambassador Philip Dimitrov, the NBIBM is a successful project because integrated border management is all about guaranteeing the security and mobility for movement and trade, by using basic freedoms.

Dimitrov said that this all is in connection with the necessity to address challenges like cross-border crime, organized crime, trafficking and many others. According to the EU Ambassador the process will not end, but will continue with the other border management projects that are coming.

One such project is the future initiative at the Bagratashen-Sadakhlo border crossing point (BCP) which was also unveiled on last Tuesday.

Discussing the achievements and prospects of the Integrated Border Management Project in the South Caucasus on the example of the project at the Ninotsminda-Bavra border crossing point, Commander of the State Border Service of the Republic of Latvia, Normuds Garbars, said that by maintaining open and secure borders between Georgia and Armenia, would result in a peaceful South Caucasus and Europe.

The project between Georgia and Armenia includes the provision of modern facility, training in risk management, protection of international property, and other useful activities in terms of protecting border security. The Head of the Customs Department, Revenue Service of Georgia, Vladimer Khundadze said this is a precondition for deepening the trade relations between the two countries.

Representatives of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Finance and National Security Council of Georgia, and the National Security Council, National Security Service, Police and Revenue Committee of Armenia attended the conference together with the senior officers from the State Border Guard Service of Latvia who provided assistance and consultation throughout the project.

Head of Administration Board, State Border Guard of Latvia, Vladimiris Zaguzovs positively estimated the project. As recommendations for the next step he said the cooperation should be strengthened between the border delegates to have regular exchange of information, as well as the draft legal acts and rules should be approved.