Georgian PM welcomes strong expressions of support from NATO

Published in Politics
Thursday, 08 September 2016 10:35

Welcoming NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and members of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) to Georgia for a two day visit, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili reaffirmed his country's steadfast commitment to NATO integration.
"Becoming a member state of the NATO is the firm will of the Georgian people and our government will spare no effort to achieve this goal," said the Prime Minister.
In remarks following the political dialogue of the NATO-Georgia Commission, the Prime Minister said the NATO-Georgia "substantial package", agreed at the Wales Summit in 2015 and reinforced in Warsaw this year, was a clear "manifestation of the practical support and dynamic relations" between Georgia and the Alliance. He said that Georgia would fully implement the available practical mechanisms in order to "support and accelerate the political decision of Georgia's accession to the NATO", adding that this process was critical for European security, which is "unimaginable without stability in the region".
He also welcomed the clear recognition by NATO of the success of Georgia's ongoing reform programme: "We are extremely happy that on the part of NAC we heard the unanimous support for Georgia's progress, economic development and security reforms. As country aspiring to membership, Georgia is being recognised as a competent and reliable partner."
Speaking at the joint press conference, Secretary General Stoltenberg said that "the presence of the North Atlantic Council representing all 28 Allies and also Montenegro shows the strong commitment and the strong partnership between NATO and Georgia".
"NATO and Georgia have a remarkable, mutually supportive relationship. Our partnership is strong. And our partnership is getting even stronger," said the Secretary General.
Georgia, according to Mr. Stoltenberg, has made "impressive progress" in domestic reforms as well as "substantial sacrifices in service of our shared Euro-Atlantic security". "We will continue to count on Georgia. And we will continue to support you," he said.
"And while contributing to international security, Georgia has also carried out ambitious defence reforms here at home. You are continuing to strengthen your democracy and civic institutions. And this has helped Georgia move closer to NATO," said Mr. Stoltenberg, adding that thanks to constitutional and electoral reforms, "we look forward to the upcoming elections [on 8 October] meeting the highest democratic standards of free and fair elections."
While in Georgia, NAC members also visited the Joint Training and Evaluation Centre which marked its first anniversary in August. NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow opened the new Information Centre on NATO and the EU, and the Secretary General and Ambassadors also attended the Tbilisi International Conference.

“Georgia has all instruments to prepare for NATO membership”-Jens Stoltenberg

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 17:25

“Georgia has all instruments to prepare for NATO membership”-this statement was made by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at joint press conference with PM Kvirikashvili after NATO-Georgia Commission Session. Jens Stoltenberg thanked Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Georgian people for hosting and congratulated them 25th anniversary of independence.
“I want to highlight the achievement you had last years and the victim Georgian soldiers did for national security,”-NATO Secretary General said. Jens Stoltenberg discussed NATO-Georgia Commission Session agenda.
“NATO-Georgia Commission created in 2008. This is a forum for the cooperation of Alliance and Georgia. The commission discussed a lot of issues including Black Sea security issue. We also discuss progress achieved within the frames of NATO-Georgia Substantial Package. This is an initiative which entered into force in 2014 and was strengthened after Warsaw Summit. As the aspirant country Georgia has all the instruments to prepare for NATO membership,”-Jens Stoltenberg said. 

Aleqsandre Maisuradze comments on visit of the North Atlantic Council in Georgia

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 15:01

The visit of the North Atlantic Council is a clear signal and demonstration that Georgia has a huge place in the agenda of Alliance – this statement was made by the permanent representative of Georgia to NATO Aleqsandre Maisuradze. According to him, this visit is politically important.
“This visit of the North Atlantic Council is a clear signal and demonstration that Georgia has a huge place in the agenda of Alliance. Alliance supports territorial integrity, sovereignty and Euro Atlantic Integration process of Georgia,”-Maisuradze said. According to him, Warsaw Summit agreements will be discussed at NATO-Georgia Commission Session.

North Atlantic Council confirms the interest and support Georgia has from NATO-Davit Bakradze

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 14:55

The visit of the North Atlantic Council confirms the interest and support Georgia has from NATO –this statement was made by the State Minister for European and Euro Atlantic Integration of Georgia Davit Bakradze.
As for NATO-Georgia Commission Meeting, according to him, the agreements made at Warsaw Summit will be discussed.
“The agreements achieved at Warsaw Summit will be discussed. We will also discuss defense system strengthening mechanisms, strategic communication skills and the Euro Atlantic Integration way of Georgia. We have all practical instruments to prepare for Europe. This is this years’ national program of NATO-Georgia substantial package,”-Davit Bakradze said.

NATO Secretary General praises Germany’s contributions to the Alliance

Published in World
Friday, 02 September 2016 17:05

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the recent German White Paper on Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr – including the German government’s commitment to participate even more in shaping international security – in an address to Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU) parliamentarians in the Bundestag on Friday (2 September 2016). He outlined how NATO is responding to challenges from the east and the south of the Alliance, stressing the importance of closer cooperation between NATO and the European Union.
Earlier on Friday, the Secretary General discussed NATO’s response to current security challenges with Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen.  They agreed on the importance of NATO’s efforts to help cut the lines of human trafficking in the Aegean Sea, and reviewed the Alliance’s capacity-building work with southern partners – focusing on Iraq, where NATO will soon begin military training. They further welcomed that NATO AWACS surveillance planes will soon provide information to the Global Coalition to counter ISIL. Mr Stoltenberg thanked Minister von der Leyen for Germany’s many contributions to the Alliance, in particular for leading one of four battalions that NATO will soon rotate through the Baltic States and Poland.
The Secretary General also held talks with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier which focused on arms control initiatives and the Alliance’s relationship with Russia. The two leaders reaffirmed the Alliance’s dual-track approach of pursuing defence and dialogue, and Mr Stoltenberg welcomed Minister Steinmeier’s recent proposal to engage Russia in renewed talks on modernising the conventional arms control regime in Europe.

 

The referendum on Georgia's accession to NATO will not be hold

Published in Politics
Friday, 05 August 2016 17:20

The referendum on Georgia's accession to NATO will not be hold – this statement was made by Tbilisi City Court. The court has considered the appeal of the initiative group which demanded the implementation of a referendum question - "Do you support Georgia's accession to NATO".
As the judge said, the question is legally vague. 

Can an opera singer become prime minister of Georgia?-Article in Washington Post

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 03 August 2016 17:10

Can an opera singer become prime minister of Georgia?-Article in Washington Post
One month before the United States vote in its own presidential election, Georgia (the country, not the state) will have its own parliamentary election, hoping to stabilize a political scene that has seen a variety of issues over the past few years.
And much as in America, a newcomer with no political background is hoping to shake up the political scene.
In Georgia, however, this political newcomer's background isn't business: It's opera.
For decades, Paata Burchuladze has had a successful career performing as operas at some of the most famous venues in the world. As a bass vocalist, his tone was described as having a "razor-edge incisiveness" in a 2001 Washington Post review of "Don Carlo" at the Washington Opera; the review also noted his flair for sounding "both stentorian and vulnerable at the same time."
In Washington, D.C. for his third trip to the United States in recent months, Burchuladze said that he had been compelled to run for office by the failures of the current government. "I changed my life, from this beautiful life of singing," he explained in the lobby of the St. Regis hotel. "La Scala and the Metropolitan! I took leave, because its now necessary for me to go into politics."
The 61-year-old said that he had originally formed the Georgian Development Foundation in a bid to advise the coalition government, currently headed by the Georgian Dream's Giorgi Kvirikashvili. He said the government then refused to act on his recommendations. Why exactly? "Good question. I'd like to ask you! We don't know," Burchuladze said. "They feel that they know everything but they do nothing."
Burchuladze has now formed his own party, State for People, and initial signs suggest a surprising amount of support. In a poll conducted by theInternational Republican Institute in March, the Georgian Development Foundation was listed as the third most popular political force in the country, not far behind Georgian Dream and the center right opposition United National Movement.
At present it seems unlikely any party will have enough votes to form a party on its own in October's election, likely leading to a coalition government. Michael Cecire, a non-resident fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, says that it's unlikely the State for People will be the senior partner in a coalition, "but his party is a credible piece of several foreseeable configurations."
Perhaps more startlingly, Burchuladze himself came in first place for favorability rankings for individuals, with 75 percent of Georgians found to have a positive view of him, compared to 56 percent for prime minister Kvirikashvili. Burchuladze's status as an internationally renowned singer hasn't hurt him, a fact he acknowledges. "My background can help me with popularity, not with anything else," he said, though he added that he knows "a lot of people all over the world, not only the opera world but also the political world" who give him advice.
It's not all about popularity, though, Burchuladze said. Support for Georgian Development Foundation is evidence that the Georgian Dream had failed, he explained. That center left party, backed by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, had been swept into power in 2012 amid growing public despair at the policies of Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili – a divisive politician who was himself brought to power amid a wave of excitement during 2004's Rose Revolution.
The March IRI poll shows many Georgians were upset about what they saw as unfulfilled promises made by parties, as well as economic problems and unemployment. Seventy percent said the country was going in the wrong direction. "They are not professionals or they do not care," Burchuladze said of the Georgian Dream. "I don't know. Everybody is thinking about their position in government."
Cecire says that Burchuladze seems to be positioning himself as the new face of Georgian conservatism. However, he notes that Burchuladze's proposals – like those of Georgian Dream – lack specificity. "In a way, Burchuladze's appeal is that he both double downs on the lofty economic promises made by Georgian Dream, and is helped by the disappointment many voters feel about Georgian Dream's subsequent performance," Cecire writes in an email.
Burchuladze certainly makes some dramatic promises himself; he says that he has a plan to bring Georgia's economic growth up from not much over 2 percent to 10 percent in just two to three years. However, when pushed on rule of law, one of the key areas he wants to reform to help Georgia's economy, he struggled to explain what he would change. "It's very difficult," he said. "We have to change everything."
What Burchuladze is clear about is that he sees the future of Georgia as Western-facing and hopes one day that the country will join both NATO and the European Union, likely seeing both organizations as back up against potential Russian belligerence. The Georgian visited the Democratic National Convention while in the U.S., though he emphasizes that he is a center right politician and willing to talk to everyone. He also downplayed recent comments made by Republican hopeful Donald Trump about NATO.
"From our position, nothing changes," he said. "What Trump or someone else says, that's about the U.S. relationship to NATO. We have another relationship with NATO."
"What is happening now, it doesn't mean that after five years the same thing will be happening," Giorgi Rukhadze, head of the State for People's foreign policy, added.
That's true in Georgian politics too. As Burchuladze noted, it only took four years for the hope surrounding Georgian Dream to fade. His plan is to do better. He has no plans to return to the world of opera anytime soon, he said, but ultimately that decision may not be lie with him. He plans to stay in politics for at least one other parliamentary election. "If voters tell me 'that's enough,' then I'll leave," he said.

 

 

Coup attempt 'deeply damaging for Erdogan

Published in World
Saturday, 16 July 2016 09:55

The coup attempt is deeply damaging for President Erdogan who will struggle now to reassert his authority, Michael Stephens, Research Fellow for Middle East Studies at the Royal United Services Institute tells the BBC.
At one point during the attempt, Mr Erdogan's whereabouts were unknown, Mr Richards says, adding to the impression that he was not fully in control of his country.
From the West point's of view Turkey is a vital Nato partner and plays a key role in the struggle against so-called Islamic State militants - so any instability there is bound to give cause for serious concern.
The coup reflects deep frustration in Turkey over Mr Erdogan's apparent disdain for the constitution and his efforts to create an executive presidency, Mr Richards says.
source: BBC

Powerful Georgia will have direct co-operation dialogue with Russia-Irakli Alasania

Published in Politics
Friday, 08 July 2016 17:11

Powerful and strong Georgia will have direct co-operation dialogue with Russia - the "Free Democrats' leader Irakli Alasania said in Warsaw today. According to Free Democrats, Irakli Alasania will participate in the events planned by NATO.
Alasania responded to the declaration, which was signed by representatives of the parties.
"All the main political forces agree that the future of our society and political forces see NATO and Europe together. This of course, is a great stimulus to the NATO members,”-he said. 

Why the Warsaw Summit matters-Jens Stoltenberg's Speech

Published in World
Friday, 08 July 2016 16:47

Speech by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Warsaw Summit Experts' Forum
Mister President, Minister, Secretary Albright, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Let me first of all thank the Polish Institute of International Affairs and GLOBSEC for organizing this very important event.
And let me add a special welcome and word of appreciation to all of you being present here and a special word of appreciation to you, President Duda, for your strong personal commitment to the Allinace and to our shared security and to keeping the Alliance strong. And I very well remember when we met in June last year after you were elected but before you had taken up your post as President, and I immediately understood that we were going to have an excellent cooperation in the preperations for the summit and now we are here at the eve of the summit and I’m looking forward to be together with you at the summit and addressing all the different challenges we are going to face and address at the summit.
Let me also thank Poland for hosting our summit in this vibrant city.
And I appreciate this opportunity to address so many experts, policymakers and opinion leaders from around the world.
You play an important role. Because in our open societies, public understanding and support are vital for NATO’s success.
And let me in particular recognise Madeleine Albright, because you have played such an important role in working for our ambition for a Europe whole, free and at peace. So it’s great to have you here and it’s great also to know that you still so committed to this Alliance.
A few hours from now, NATO leaders will gather here to chart  the future of our Alliance. Guided by our common values of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.
The Warsaw Summit comes at a defining moment in the history of our Alliance. With unpredictable threats and complex challenges from many directions.  NATO has responded. We have launched a wholesale reinforcement of our collective defence and deterrence. The biggest since the end of the Cold War.
And I am personally very proud of the determination shown by all Allies since our summit in Wales. We have done what we said we would do.
The NATO Response Force is now three times bigger, with a brigade-sized Spearhead Force at its core. Able to move within days.
We have set up a series of small headquarters in the eastern part of our Alliance, including here in Poland. They make it easier for us to plan and exercise, and to reinforce if needed. We have augmented Turkey’s air defences with AWACS surveillance planes and defensive missile systems.
We have increased the number of exercises, sped up our decision-making,and developed a strategy to deal with hybrid threats. We have bolstered NATO’s ability and readiness to defend our territory and our citizens.
Here in Warsaw, we will take decisions to further strengthen our collective defence and deterrence. And to project stability beyond our borders.
Today, we will agree to enhance our forward presence in the east of the Alliance. In Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and here in Poland. We will deploy, by rotation, a robust, multinational battalion in each of the countries. Making clear that an attack against one Ally will be met by forces from across the Alliance.
Let me thank Canada, Germany, the UK and the US, for deciding to lead these battalions.
And let me thank Poland, and the three Baltic states, for hosting and supporting these NATO forces, and for strengthening their own.
We will also transform a Romanian brigade into a multinational brigade to strengthen our posture in the south-eastern part of the Alliance.
And we will increase our defences against hybrid threats, cyber-attacks, and ballistic missile attacks from outside the Euro-Atlantic area.
Everything we do is defensive, proportionate and transparent.
And fully consistent with our international obligations Our position is clear.
NATO does not seek confrontation. We do not want a new Cold War. The Cold War is history. And it should remain history.
We will continue to seek constructive and meaningful dialogue with Russia. To make our intentions clear. To dispel any misunderstandings. And to reduce the risk of military incidents or accidents spiralling out of control. Russia is our biggest neighbour and an integral part of European security. So sustaining dialogue is essential.
That is why we established the NATO-Russia Council, as an all-weather forum for dialogue. So it is especially important that we use this tool now.
For our nations to be safe, it is not enough to keep our defence strong. We must also help our partners become stronger.
And the second theme of the Warsaw Summit is projecting stability beyond our borders.
We will help our partners in the Middle East and North Africa to tackle the root causes of instability. To secure their own countries. And to fight terrorism. Training local forces is often our best weapon against violent extremism.
We have learned a great deal from our operations in the Balkans and in Afghanistan.
We remain committed to training Afghan forces. We will also put together a financing package to sustain them through 2020.
All NATO Allies already contribute individually to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.
We will decide at the summit that NATO’s AWACS planes will share information with the Coalition.  We will start to train Iraqi officers in Iraq. And we will continue to support Jordan and Tunisia. And we stand ready to assist Libya.
We will also affirm our commitment to our partners in the east – to Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova – to help them resist outside pressures and to advance reforms.
Everything we do – to defend ourselves, and to project stability – is magnified when we work with others.
This is especially true when we speak about the European Union. We share common values and interests. And we face common threats.
While Brexit will change the UK’s relationship with the EU, it will not change the UK’s leading position within NATO.
Unity and cooperation between NATO and the EU remains as important as ever.
In these times of uncertainty, our partnership is increasingly essential.
So at this summit, we will take our partnership to a new level. To counter hybrid threats. To increase our resilience against cyber-attacks. And to address maritime security in the central Mediterranean – as we have already in the Aegean Sea.
Because our citizens demand that we keep them safe.  This requires resources.
Last year, after many years of decline, we saw a small increase in defence spending by NATO’s European Allies and Canada.
And this year, we expect a real increase of 3%in defence spending among European Allies and Canada.
Poland has led by example. Spending more, and spending better. As an Alliance, we are starting to move in the right direction.
But there is a long way to go. And we must spare no effort to sustain the momentum.Our security depends on it.
Ladies and gentlemen,
For nearly 70 years, NATO has helped to keep the peace in Europe. By forging an unbreakable bond between Allies on both sides of the Atlantic. In recent years, the world has changed dramatically. We continue to change with it.
What will not change is the enduring bond between Europe and North America on which our Alliance is founded. What will not change is our resolve to defend each other. To uphold our shared values. And to preserve peace and security for future generations.

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