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NATO-Georgia Public Diplomacy Forum opens in Tbilisi

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, April 5
"We spare no effort to retain the positive dynamics of the NATO integration process and to make NATO-Georgia relations even more significant in terms of progress and tangible results,” Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated at the opening of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Public Diplomacy Forum in Tbilisi on April 4.

The opening of Public Diplomacy Forum initiated NATO Week in Georgia, which will be concluded on April 19. The Prime Minister addressed the participants of the forum. He thanked supporters of Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic integration. The Prime Minister also noted that Georgia expects a clear message from the NATO Warsaw Summit.

According to Kvirikashvili, this is the first such forum in Georgia which opens the 2016 NATO Week in Georgia. He also mentioned that Georgia always takes part in NATO peacekeeping missions, in order to contribute to international security.

“For Georgia, as an aspirant country, it is very important to strengthen ties with the alliance and fulfil significant commitments by taking part in the NATO Immediate Response Forces and NATO missions,” claimed Kvirikashvili, and noted that Georgia’s aspiration towards EU and NATO integration does not mean being hostile to any nation.

The PM thanked the forum organizers, namely NATO and the EU information centre, the State Ministry of Euro Integration and the NATO Liaison Office in Georgia.

Georgia’s State Minister of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Davit Bakradze also delivered a speech at the forum, who noted that this is the ninth time NATO Week is being held in Georgia.

“While moving towards Euro-Atlantic integration, we are facing serious challenges, which are associated with enemies of Georgia, who want to spread nihilism among our citizens,” stated Bakradze and spoke about Georgia’s progress on its path towards NATO membership.

On the second day of the forum, Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli will deliver speeches.

On the opening of the forum, Khidasheli commented that at the Warsaw Summit, Georgia will not ask for a Membership Action Plan (MAP) but full NATO membership itself, because Georgia made more important steps at the NATO Ministerial held in December 2015.

“NATO membership is our main task and we continue on the path towards membership. But before completion of the task, we request our self-defensive capabilities be improved,” Khidasheli declared.

The forum was also attended by NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Ted Whiteside.