Appathurai, Ivanishvili discuss NATO-Georgia relations
NATO Secretary General`s Special Representative to Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai met with Candidate for Georgia`s Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili today. At the meeting held at Ivanishvili`s business center in Tbilisi the main issue was current and future relations between the alliance and Georgia.
Georgia`s participation in the ISAF mission was also discussed at the meeting, which lasted for an hour. Ivanishvili said Georgian soldiers will remain in Afghanistan as soon as it`s needed.
"The alliance should make more principal, more practical steps for Georgia`s actual integration into NATO within the closest future. On our behalf we will do our best to have truly democratic institutions formed in Georgia that is a necessary demand for NATO member countries. We will continue our involvement and we are proud of being participants of the peace operation in Afghanistan along with NATO member countries. Along with it, we will try our best to have our relations regulated with our big neighbor Russia and manage to recover our territorial integrity. However, these processes, as noted in recent memoranda will be discussed separately", he said.
"On behalf of NATO, I`d like to personally congratulate Mr. Ivanishvili, the incoming prime minister for the victory in the election but also in way in which the election has taken place and the transition is taking place. We had an excellent discussion today. He has reiterated Georgia`s commitment to NATO, to membership in NATO and to participation in the mission in Afghanistan. I from my part of course have welcomed all of this but also wanted to recommit NATO to Georgia, the future of Georgia in NATO, our gratitude for the contribution in Afghanistan and I expressed my condolences and the NATO`s condolences for the soldier who was recently killed there. NATO also remains committed to Georgia`s territorial integrity. Your country is NATO`s close partner and aspires to the membership, that`s why we remain committed to the country", Appathurai said.