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Georgia awaits details of NATO package

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, September 1
The NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai assures that Georgia will be provided a substantive package with NATO that will bring the country closer to full membership.

“We have just finished our work on the substantive package; Georgia will receive this package at the NATO summit in Wales. I'm really delighted that there are so many new directions and elements,” Appathurai said.

Appathurai also informed about the air-defense systems Georgia’s Defense Minister Irakli Alasania had requested from NATO.

He stressed that it will be written in the package that Georgia needs defense systems, and then this issue would be solved through bilateral meetings.

“This package will strengthen the defensive capabilities of Georgia. I can understand the frustration of those Georgians who want the Membership Action Plan (MAP), but I want to assure you that this is a package that will help Georgia in obtaining NATO membership,” Appathurai said.

The Georgian government is optimistic about the NATO Wales Summit.

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated that Georgia has worked extremely hard over the past year to achieve maximum results at the Summit.

"The Government has done everything it could and I was involved in this process myself,” he said. The Wales Summit was one of the main topics for the president’s administration recently.

According to the president’s adviser on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Tengiz Pkhaladze, the president’s main task was to increase the quality of Georgia’s defence after the Summit.

“Another main goal of the president was to ensure Georgia was not only praised for its progress, but to make sure serious steps were taken by NATO to allow Georgia to enter the alliance in the future,” Pkhaladze said, adding that Georgia desperately requires defense and security guarantees in the context of a very strained situation in the region.

Analyst Elene Khoshtaria believes that launching talks over the NATO air-defense systems’ deployment in Georgia was a good first step.

Former official and analyst Davit Sikharulidze thinks that the Ukrainian developments have changed NATO’s attitudes toward Russia. The analyst emphasizes that Georgia would be supported in terms of defense by the alliance.

The NATO Summit will be held September 4-5 in Wales. US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande are expected to attend, along with leaders and senior ministers from around 60 other countries. Georgia's president will also attend the summit.