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NATO to consider Georgia’s offer to host defensive systems

May 01, 2014, 18:41 UTC+3 TBILISI
The offer was made by Georgian Defense Minister Irakly Alasania at an international conference entitled “Europe Whole and Free”
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James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia

James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia

© EPA/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE

TBILISI, May 01. /ITAR-TASS/. NATO will consider Georgia’s offer to host defensive systems, the alliance’s special envoy for the South Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai said.

The offer was made by Georgian Defense Minister Irakly Alasania at an international conference entitled “Europe Whole and Free” organized by the Atlantic Council in Washington on Thursday, May 1. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen who attended the conference said he would familiarize his colleagues with the offer.

Appathurai said Alasania’s message was straight and clear, and expressed hope that NATO would consider it.

As an organization, NATO has no defensive systems, but its member states have them, and the alliance can arrange for their deployment as it did in Turkey during the conflict in Syria.

Speaking at a joint briefing with Appathurai, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said the deployment of such defensive systems in her country would be “a timely, considering the situation, and interesting idea which has not been considered yet but which is worth considering”.

“Time will show what specific actions will follow. For the time being, it’s just one of the ideas that is interesting to our partners as well,” she said.

“Now West has to seize the opportunity … to create the reality on the ground by accepting the membership of aspirant countries to NATO by putting some defensive, purely defensive assets in the aspirant countries and predominantly in Georgia,” Alasania said in his presentation the text of which was posted on the Georgian Defense Ministry’s website.

The European Union and NATO are the only organizations Georgia plans to join, Panjikidze said earlier.

NATO reiterated its decision to admit Georgia to the alliance. The NATO leaders agreed “to enhance Georgia’s connectivity with the Alliance, including by further strengthening our political dialogue, practical cooperation, and interoperability with Georgia”.

They continue to encourage and actively support Georgia’s ongoing implementation of all necessary reforms, including democratic, electoral, and judicial reforms, as well as security and defence reforms.

Four states described by NATO as aspirant countries are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia and Montenegro.

Georgia’s top officials say that Tbilisi continues the policy of integration with the North Atlantic Alliance and stress that membership in the alliance will help strengthen the country’s independence, security and sovereignty, facilitate its socio-economic and democratic development.

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