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Friday, June 17
Heritage Foundation: MAP not required for Georgia

The NATO summit must make it clear that a Membership Action Plan is not required for Georgia, - says the article of Heritage Foundation.

“The July NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland, offers an opportunity for the alliance to thank Georgia for its contribution in Afghanistan, congratulate Georgia on its military reforms, and lay the groundwork for deeper cooperation paving the way to eventual membership.

“The U.S. should continue to support Georgia’s NATO aspirations and ensure that the summit delivers a capabilities package that will enhance the NATO–Georgian relationship while improving Georgia’s defensive military capabilities. The alliance should live up to its 2008 promise and keep Georgia on track for NATO membership. In the long run, this would bring more stability to the South Caucasus and transatlantic regions.

“While few expected Georgia to receive an invitation to join the alliance at the upcoming summit, NATO’s decision to not even grant a Membership Action Plan (MAP) has come as a huge blow to those in Tbilisi who are pushing for deeper Euro-Atlantic integration away from Moscow.

“After the Russian invasion in 2008 and the subsequent Russian occupation of 20 percent of Georgia’s territory, Georgia has transformed its military and has been steadfast in its support for overseas security operations. Georgia has contributed thousands of troops to Iraq, and hundreds of peacekeepers to the Balkans, and currently has 150 soldiers deployed in the Central African Republic.

“In many ways, Georgia has been a model for other countries in Europe. Perhaps Georgia’s greatest contribution has been in Afghanistan. At the height of the war, Georgia had almost 2,000 soldiers in the dangerous southern part of the country, making it the largest per capita troop-contributing nation in the coalition.

“While many NATO countries refused to keep sizeable troop numbers (if any at all) in Afghanistan for the post-combat training mission, Georgia currently maintains 860 troops in the country. This is the third-largest contribution after the U.S. and Germany. Moreover, Georgia currently contributes an infantry company to the NATO Response Force.

“The last NATO summit was a success for Georgia. NATO agreed to the Substantial NATO–Georgia Package, which has brought huge benefits to the Georgian military, but more can be done.

Keeping NATO focused on Georgia’s Euro–Atlantic path will require American leadership. The U.S. needs to ensure that the upcoming summit recognizes Georgia’s commitment and sacrifices to transatlantic security. The U.S. and NATO should:

• Make it clear that a Membership Action Plan is not required. It is a common misconception that a MAP is a requirement for joining the Alliance. NATO members should not use this technicality as a road block for Georgia’s future membership. With the Annual National Program, the NATO–Georgia Commission, and the Substantial NATO–Georgia Package, Georgia’s relationship with NATO is closer now than it would have been under the traditional MAP.

• Publish a separate summit declaration on NATO’s support for Georgia. NATO leaders often agree on separate declarations, apart from the main declaration, regarding specific issues of importance. A separate declaration on NATO’s support for eventual Georgian membership in the Alliance would send the right message to the Georgian people that their sacrifice and commitment have not gone unnoticed.

• Ensure that the Alliance is clear on Georgia’s future membership. The summit declaration should make it clear that Georgia’s successful completion of subsequent Annual National Programs, the close relationship through the NATO–Georgia Commission, and the Substantial NATO–Georgia Package are the true markers of progress that will bring Georgia closer to ultimate membership.

• Ensure that the NATO–Georgia Commission meeting takes place at the heads-of-government level. Currently, this meeting is planned for the foreign-ministers level. This sends the wrong signal to the Georgian people. The NATO–Georgian Commission should be held at the heads-of-government level to demonstrate the importance with which NATO views its relationship with Georgia.

• Ensure that the Substantial NATO–Georgia Package is fully resourced. While the Substantial NATO–Georgia Package has done a lot to improve the capabilities of the Georgian Armed Forces, full implementation of the package has been slow and incomplete. NATO should ensure that the resources are dedicated to fulfil the complete package in a timely manner.

• Help the Georgians defend themselves. Every country has the inherent right to self-defense. The U.S. and NATO allies should sell defensive anti-tank and anti-aircraft weaponry to Georgia. So long as the weapons are defensive in nature, there is no reason not to provide them to the Georgian military.

• Develop a strategy for the Black Sea region. The Black Sea sits at an important crossroads between Europe, Asia, and the Caucasus. Ever since Russia illegally annexed Crimea, the Black Sea has essentially become a Russian lake. The U.S. needs to work with the Black Sea littoral states, especially Georgia, to develop a strategy for regional security.

• Refer to the Russian military presence as an occupation. In the summit declaration, NATO should call the presence of several thousand Russian troops in South Ossetia and Abkhazia what it is: an occupation. To date, many European countries have failed to use this terminology. Given recent events in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, it is more important than ever that NATO send a united and clear message,” reads the article. (IPN)

Ministry of Defence of Georgia Launches Media Training “Noble Response 2016” for Journalists

On July 1-5, 2016 the Ministry of Defence of Georgia will hold media-training “Noble Response 2016” for journalists. The aim of the project is to train journalists, cameramen and reporters to work in challenging or hazardous environments.

Those willing to participate will be involved in the training for 5 days, from the 1st to the 5th of July on a 24 hour regime. Participants will be housed in a military base, where the training will be conducted. Therefore, participants will be away from their everyday working routine.

The training consists of two theoretical and practical stages. The theoretical part provides additional information on the importance of strategic communications in informational warfare, disinformation, as well as on the manipulation of public opinion.

The practical part will be the real environment simulation, where the ‘playmakers’ will create a close-to-reality situations and provide participating journalists with ‘puzzles’. They will also create technical and substantive barriers.

During the active informational and conventional warfare simulation, the participants of the training will have the possibility to improve their skills. They will become familiarized with the functions, roles and working specifics of the Ministry of Defence and its structural units.

After the training, participants will hear the assessments of the invited professionals and receive respective recommendations. The registration of the participants will start at 09:00, 15th of June till 17:00, 24th of June. 30 participants will be selected. Additional information and the terms of cooperation about the training will be delivered afterwards. (