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NATO's Javier Colomina Voices Concerns over Georgian Government's Reactions to Russia's Flight Resumption Decision

By Liza Mchedlidze
Friday, May 26, 2023
During his visit, Javier Colomina, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, conducted meetings with representatives of the diplomatic corps, the government, and opposition politicians in Tbilisi, as part of his official agenda.

Colomina expressed that NATO has a strong and close partnership with Georgia, and that the bilateral work being conducted is highly commendable. He emphasized the effective utilization of partnership frameworks to enhance interoperability, professionalism, practical cooperation, and political dialogue between NATO and Georgia. Colomina reiterated NATO's unwavering commitment to the open door policy and affirmed their dedication to Georgia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations, in line with the decision made at the Bucharest summit in 2008.

Colomina highlighted that there are reforms that Georgia needs to implement, expressing concerns regarding the level and pace of the implementation of these essential reforms. He also expressed concerns about foreign influences on the country and the recent reactions that occurred due to Russia's unilateral decision to resume flights.

"The reactions we are witnessing and reading about are concerning to us. I have conveyed this message to the authorities in Georgia. While we understand that Moscow's decision is unilateral, the reactions from Georgia's side during this critical time are disconcerting. It is crucial for all of us to provide as much support to Ukraine as possible. We believe that such reactions may create an impression that there is a potential violation of sanctions by Russia at this moment. Therefore, it is imperative for us to be clear and united in our support for Ukraine. This is our expectation from Georgia and all our partners. Naturally, the reactions we have come across raise concerns, and we have shared these concerns with your government," said Colomina.

Furthermore, Colomina mentioned that they have received information from the Georgian authorities regarding the efforts being made to prevent any evasion of sanctions. According to him, commendable work is being done in various areas. However, the reactions observed at least give the impression that Russia might exploit certain opportunities to circumvent the sanctions. He emphasized the critical importance of supporting Ukraine and preventing any evasion of sanctions. While acknowledging the efforts of the Georgian government to prevent such evasion, Colomina urged the government to take appropriate measures to avoid any sanctions violations.

"Given the critical nature of providing ongoing assistance to Ukraine, which is a priority for each of us, it should also be a priority for our partners. Moreover, these reactions create an opportunity for Russia to potentially circumvent sanctions.

Your government has informed us about the efforts being undertaken to prevent the evasion of sanctions. There is commendable work being carried out in various aspects. However, the reactions we have witnessed, at the very least, create an impression that Russia may exploit this situation to evade sanctions. We have been unequivocal in our stance that such an outcome should not occur, and we have encouraged your government to take appropriate measures to prevent this," Colomina stated.