Georgia Remains NATO’s Main Outpost In The Caucasus
October 12, 2012
NATO Secretary General Speaks on Phone with Saakashvili, Ivanishvili
Tbilisi: NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, called President Saakashvili and Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili on October 12 and “congratulated both leaders, together with the Georgian people, for completing free, competitive and peaceful parliamentary elections,” NATO said in a press release.
It said that the Secretary General also congratulated Bidzina Ivanishvili and his coalition “for their success in the elections” and called on both leaders to work to together to further consolidate democratic reforms.
He reiterated that NATO remained ready to further assist Georgia in defence and security sector reforms and that the Alliance was looking forward to making “the close partnership with Georgia even stronger.”
Rasmussen also expressed his condolences for the recent death of a Georgian officer in Afghanistan and conveyed NATO’s “strong appreciation for Georgia’s steadfast commitment to Afghanistan.”
October 12, 2012
Saakashvili: After Elections Georgia has Historic Chance to Boost NATO Integration
Tbilisi: The democratic conduct of the October 1 parliamentary elections will help Georgia to get closer to NATO membership, President Saakashvili said on October 12.
In a video address, recorded after he spoke on phone with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Saakashvili said that he had been invited to address the NATO Parliamentary Assembly session in Prague in November.
“After these elections and because of how these elections were conducted, we all have a historic chance to seriously move forward in terms of NATO integration,” he said.
“The NATO ministerial meeting will be held in December, where it will be possible to make new decisions. Now as never before – and I told it to the prime ministerial candidate [Bidzina Ivanishvili] – we need to work together, including with the election winner coalition [Georgian Dream], in order to move forward in terms of NATO integration,” Saakashvili said added that in remaining one year of his presidential term he would spare no efforts to get Georgia closer to NATO membership.
“We really have such an opportunity,” Saakashvili said and stressed that chances for boosting Georgia’s NATO integration increased “against the background of these elections…”
After meeting with President Saakashvili, leader of Georgian Dream Bidzina Ivanishvili said that foreign policy was an issue on which “we have concurring” point of views and added that “Georgia will definitely manage to become a NATO member state in the near future.”
October 12, 2012
Eighteenth Georgian Soldier Dies in Afghanistan
Tbilisi: Corporal Mindia Abashidze from the 32nd Light Infantry Battalion was “killed while fulfilling a combat task under the ISAF mission in Afghanistan”, the Georgian Defense Ministry said on October 12.
The latest death brings to eighteen the total number of Georgian soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the country joined the NATO-led operation in November, 2009.
The Georgian Defense Ministry also said that 22-year-old Corporal Abashidze had been serving in the army since August 2008. Corporal Abashidze was in the Helmand province of Afghanistan for second tour of duty with the 32nd battalion.
NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who spoke on phone with President Saakashvili and Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili on October 12, expressed his condolences for death of a Georgian officer in Afghanistan and conveyed NATO’s “strong appreciation for Georgia’s steadfast commitment to Afghanistan.”