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British Foreign Secretary Backs NATO Membership For Georgia

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
May 9, 2014

British Foreign Minister Backs Georgia’s NATO Membership

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has arrived in Georgia and voiced “very clear support” for the Caucasus country’s bid to join NATO and the European Union.

Arriving in Tbilisi on May 8 after visits to Moldova and Ukraine, Hague spoke of “our support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic ambitions” after meetings with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze.

Panjikidze noted the significance of Hague’s visit ahead of the “Georgia-EU association agreement due to be signed this June.”

Panjikidze also described as just “an idea,” a proposal Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alsania made during a recent visit to Washington about NATO redeploying “defense capabilities” in Georgia.

In Washington on May 7, Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania justified his recent call for NATO to position “defensive capabilities” within his country amid growing concerns in Tbilisi about Russia’s role in Ukraine’s escalating crisis.

Speaking before talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Alasania told RFE/RL that it is “the right time now” to take “another step” in parallel with enhanced military cooperation with the NATO alliance.

“We don’t want Europeans and other guys to see — or take note — that we are [waiting] to get security guarantees from our integration to NATO until we are going to get membership,” Alasania told RFE/RL. “This is why enhanced security cooperation will mean we are going to need more defensive capabilities.”

The Pentagon says Hagel promised on May 7 to continue U.S. military cooperation with Georgia, which fought a brief war with Russia in August 2008 over Georgian separatist regions.

The Pentagon’s spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby, encouraged the Georgian government to continue with defense reforms and efforts to enable its military to operate together with NATO forces.

Georgia has previously sent troops to help countries from NATO in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Alasania dismissed the idea that enhanced military cooperation between Tbilisi and NATO would provoke Russia.

“That’s the pre-Crimea thinking. There is a new reality,” he said. “Russians are creating new realities on the ground.”

“They are breaking and tearing up all the agreements that you had with them and the U.K. over Ukraine,” he added. “They violated international law and sovereignty in 2008. That’s erroneous thinking that there’s anything we can do to…irritate Russia [more].”

‘Open’ To Relations With Abkhazia, South Ossetia

On May 1, Alasania called for enhanced defensive assets from NATO during a speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

Specifically, Alasania called for “antiarmor, antiaircraft and antitank” capabilities…

When asked about NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow’s recent comments that NATO should see “Russia no longer as a partner but as more of an adversary,” he said he “certainly” agreed with him.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, Interfax and Trend.az

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Peter
    May 9, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Hague a moron with no integrity or respect, an utter disgrace who surely does not sleep well after all of the atrocities he has had hand in.

  2. rosemerry
    May 9, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    To take notice of Hague or of the monstrous NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow is to be driven insane.

  3. May 10, 2014 at 4:29 am

    Hague is just another Establishment “Old Boy” doing his duty, not for the British electorate, but purely and simply for the good of his (political) party, who themselves form a powerful Cabal within the British Cabinet and are relentless in ruthlessly and unashamedly supporting the British Arms industry.
    Remove his duracells and perhaps, with a bit of luck, we won’t be able hear his polished and articulate performances.
    Mr Putin must be shaking with shame and remorse after (ironic), after a rebuke via Mr Hague.
    Its a confusing old world… I cannot help but think that just maybe, (repeat) maybe… if everyone accepted Mr Hague’s rebukes in the way intended, perhaps tensions would lessen worldwide Trouble is, Mr Hague actually seems to believe in himself as being the world’s official administrator for dispensing admonishments etc.

    When the UK Govt stops hiding behind the logistical arguments for full employment and starts to declare its honest desire to enrich its Cabinet shareholding friends of the arms industry, then maybe a nanoparticle of respect will be earned for honesty alone.

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