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“Georgia more ready for NATO than some NATO members”

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, May 29
“Georgia is ready for NATO membership, and in some cases it is more ready than some NATO member states,” Vice-President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Rasa Jukneviciene, stated on May 27 within the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) session in Tbilisi.

Jukneviciene stressed that “the Russian factor still plays an important role”.

“Some NATO members, which I will not name, are afraid of provoking Russia. I would respond to them that there is lack of security in the countries around Russia and this vacuum is the biggest provocation," said the Vice-President.

She said Georgia has made significant progress in strengthening democracy, transparency and improvement of state institutions in terms of economic development.

"However, we recognize that you should continue to make efforts to strengthen the rule of law, media pluralism and reduce the very high political polarization.”

She stated that the arrests of Georgia's former political leaders, which does not often occur in the European democracies, causes concern in Europe.

“I think this is one of the reasons that some people think that Georgia is not yet ready for NATO membership,” she said.

The Vice President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly emphasized that the position of the new US government will be very important.

Jonathan Corbin, Director of NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee of Defense and Security, said that Georgia has 'come a long way', especially since 2008.

“Many were talking about internal reforms, as Georgia wants to get MAP to become a member of the Alliance,” said Jonathan Corbin.

"Georgia has been awarded with a special partnership and relationship status. However, there is still a need for improvement. One of the most important things is the replacement of its Soviet heritage,” he added.

He said his recommendation was for Georgia to continue to invest in new equipment and carry out reforms in the Armed Forces in order to comply with the NATO standards.

“As for the threat from Russia, the issue of stability in the South Caucasus is always important for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. We work with partner countries to maintain this stability," said Corbin.

In the frame of the session, Georgia’s Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili met with NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Paolo Ali.

The main topics of the talks were the NATO Parliamentary Assembly session, NATO-Georgia cooperation and ongoing reforms in the country.

The Prime Minister of Georgia thanked the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly for holding the session in Tbilisi, and noted that Georgia assesses this as a confirmation of the alliance's support.

Kvirikashvili stated the North Atlantic integration is a choice of the Georgian population.

The President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly declared his full support for the reforms of Georgia.

Ali stated that Georgia “is an island of stability” in the region, and NATO recognizes that the protection of Georgia means the protection of Europe.

Georgia’s President, Giorgi Margvelashvili, thanked Paolo Ali for supporting Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration and territorial integrity, as well as for conducting the NATO Parliamentary Assembly session in Tbilisi.

The NATO PA spring session kicked off in Tbilisi on May 26, and brought together some 300 parliamentarians from the 28 NATO member countries from North America and Europe, as well as delegates from partner countries and observers to discuss current international security issues and reports prepared by the Assembly’s committees. The sessions will close on May 29.