NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai has stated that he was confident that there would be progress before the NATO summit in Wales in September. Appathurai arrived in Tbilisi on July 9 and held meetings with Georgian officials.
What is NATO’s “substantive” package?
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, July 10
The NATO official stated that his visit to Georgia aimed at working with the Georgian side on a substantive package NATO is planning to offer the country at the Wales Summit instead of the Membership Action Plan (MAP).
“I am sure we will see the decisions at the summit, which will be followed by more active involvement of NATO in Georgia and active participation of Georgians in discussions and programs. I am confident that there will be progress before the summit,” Appathurai said. He called the meeting with Georgian Defence Minister Irakli Alasania the most substantial compared to any previously.
Alasania informed that the package consists of several elements - the first one is that Georgia will be better protected after the summit and these proposals will guarantee more security for the country. The minister emphasized that the package would be another step forward towards NATO membership.
“All our efforts are directed to achieve our goal of NATO membership in the nearest future. This and all other discussions with government officials will be crucial before the decisions are taken in NATO in the coming days,” Alasania stated.
Georgian State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alex Petriashvili believes that the substantive package of cooperation is different from the offers made by NATO towards other aspirant countries. However, according to him, Georgia wants even more.
“Georgia is the number one contributor to the international security missions. Georgia's progress in terms of democratic development has been internationally recognized. The report on Georgia made at the ministerial is exceptionally good, it is different from the other three aspirant countries. A substantive package of cooperation with Georgia is also different from the offers made by NATO towards other aspirant countries, but Georgia wants even more,” Petriashvili stressed.
It has already been decided in Georgia who will attend the NATO Wales Summit.
Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze has voiced that President Giorgi Margvelashvili will represent Georgia at the summit. According to her, the decision was made by Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili through consolations with the government. She did not state whether Gharibashvili will also leave for Wales or not.