Georgia: Pentagon, NATO Embrace New Satrap
October 5, 2012
Commander of U.S. Marine Corps in Europe Meets Ivanishvili
Tbilisi: Bidzina Ivanishvili, whose Georgian Dream coalition won the parliamentary elections, said Georgia, which has two battalions stationed in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, would “definitely continue” cooperation with the U.S. over Afghanistan.
He made the remarks on October 5 after meeting with commander of the U.S. Marine Corps in Europe, Lt Gen John M. Paxton, who is visiting Georgia.
“Georgia has been a very valuable and trusted ally for many years; we work very closely together in Afghanistan, particularly in Helmand province and we have enjoyed a great relationship trying to develop NCO leadership, officer skills and work on enhanced security cooperation,” Lt Gen Paxton said after the meeting.
“We are here to congratulate Mr. Ivanishvili and to wish him a smooth transition of power. We are here to just reaffirm that the United States stands by Georgia,” he said and added he was looking forward not only to working relationship in Afghanistan but also to continued good relations in years ahead.
“This was my first meeting with the U.S. military, who have provided huge assistance in the establishing of the Georgian army and to its reforms in line with the NATO standards,” Ivanishvili said. “I knew it, but I was very glad to hear that Georgian [troops] have special importance in the NATO forces [in Afghanistan] and that together with the U.S. [troops] are [performing combat duties] in difficult areas”
“Of course we should do everything possible in order to [continue] our partnership with the United States in Afghanistan and in such hotspots,” Ivanishvili said and added that Georgia was playing “a role of a real junior friend” to the United States and “we will definitely continue cooperation in the future too.”
The Commander of U.S. Marine Corps in Europe met on October 5 with Chief of Joint Staff of the Georgian armed force Lt Gen Devi Chankotadze.
“The sides focused on an enhanced military cooperation between the countries. Chief of JS underlined that Georgia will continue cooperation with the United States in the same format and stressed the role the U.S. plays in modernization of the Georgian army and in developing interoperability with NATO,” the Georgian Ministry of Defense said. “Lt Gen Devi Chankotadze affirmed that Georgia stands ready to continue cooperation with NATO and the United States in the post-ISAF period too.”
Also on October 5, the Commander of U.S. Marine Corps in Europe visited National Training Centre, Krtsanisi, outside Tbilisi where he attended training of the Georgian servicemen, who are gearing up for the Afghan deployment.
October 5, 2012
Ivanishvili Meets NATO Liaison Officer
Tbilisi: Georgian Dream leader, Bidzina Ivanishvili, met with NATO Liaison Officer in Tbilisi, William Lahue, and reiterated his coalition’s commitment to NATO integration.
He said after the meeting that agenda of Georgia-NATO relations were discussed “in details” and added that the NATO representative “assured us that we have a good chance of joining NATO.”
“Problems and questions mainly are related to democratic institutions, which are not on a level on which they should be. In this respect I have explained that in the nearest future, very soon, we will manage to bring a genuine breakthrough in addressing issues of human rights, judiciary,” Ivanishvili said after the meeting.
“NATO is a political-military structure and only military training is not enough; we have also discussed this issue and we will address problems remaining in this area and we will make progress [in this area] too,” he said.
“I think that we will really manage – not superficially like our authorities have been talking about – to quickly become a NATO member country,” Ivanishvili added.
The NATO Liaison Officer said that “the mechanisms for pursuing” NATO-Georgia relationships were discussed.
“We are very, very pleased to hear Mr. Ivanishvili’s commitment to NATO values and the reforms that Georgia is undertaking to become a member of NATO. This process is extremely important and we were assured of his support for continuation of this support and eventual membership of Georgia in NATO,” Lahue said.
“When NATO membership will occur, of course, we cannot say at this time, but the critical issue is that Georgia to continue its process of reforms to become a member of the European community and to continue its commitment to the values enshrined in the North-Atlantic treaty, which are human rights, rule of law, democracy and individual liberty.”
“Mr. Ivanishvili has assured us that these values will be supported by this government and we are quite comforted by his plans also to reform the government and to put in new officials who will support these issues strongly,” NATO Liaison Officer
On October 4 the NATO Liaison Office in Tbilisi released a statement congratulating the Georgian people for “historic parliamentary election.”
“The peaceful conduct of this election is an important demonstration of the belief of the Georgian people in democratic values. As the final votes are counted, it is equally important that the Georgian people continue to demonstrate their commitment to democratic processes and the rule of law by supporting the legal procedures for vote counting and dispute resolution,” the NATO Liaison Office said.