Future of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership

Dear Secretary General,
Dear Colleagues,

It seems to he rather symbolic, that today we are holding this meeting in Reykjavik. Back in 1986, meeting here the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union discussed security problems typical to that period. Those deliberations finally led to the end of the Cold War. Today we have an entirely different world, without the Berlin Wall, but facing new security challenges. Therefore our task at this meeting is to shape a strategy how the international community should deal with them.

A decade - long Euro-Atlantic Partnership has undoubtedly been a success story- EAPC and PfP have provided a framework for consultations and practical cooperation. It is in this broad framework that the new mechanisms of partnership and cooperation between the Alliance and non-member states have emerged - e.g. MAP, PARP, Mediterranean Dialogue, distinctive relations of NATO with Russia and Ukraine, etc. And I strongly believe that this ten-year experience of partnership has greatly contributed to the rapid and effective shaping up of the antiterrorist coalition after September 11.

Georgia welcomes NATO's open door policy. In the run-up of the Prague Summit, we are pleased to observe certain indications on possible invitees for the Alliance membership. The upcoming enlargement deserves our particular attention since we believe that the NATO expansion will only add to the security in the Black Sea area. The consolidation of the international position of the Black Sea littoral states is in line with security interests of Georgia as well of the entire South Caucasus region.

The Reykjavik meeting will be the landmark in terms of the enhancement of NATO Russia relations. Georgia welcomes the establishment of NATO-Russia Council, which will certainly increase predictability and security in the Euro-Atlantic area, thus contributing to the aims of NATO's Partnership and Cooperation Programme. It is also our hope that NATO-Russia Council will, among other issues result in an intensified dialogue on a number of outstanding problems, including regional issues.

In the light of the new challenges the international community faces, the adaptation of the partnership concept disserves greater attention. While preparing ourselves for Prague and looking for the new innovative approaches to boost the Partnership, we shall keep in mind that existing mechanisms should also be fully exploited.

Current mechanisms and tools of the EAPC/PfP represent many useful ideas to base our work on, e.g. inclusiveness and self-differentiation principles, 19+n or 19+1 formats. These consultation mechanisms of the EAPC could be extended to include yet unexplored individual, regional or functional areas- Giving more emphasis to the political and security-related issues, regional security challenges (e.g. regional conflicts) are to be mentioned in this context. This would be based on the work already

undertaken in the EAPC Open-ended Ad Hoc Groups and would ensure EAPC's more weight in terms of tackling and solving the outstanding problems.

Given the changing security environment, the PfP, too, could take new directions. It could integrate new areas, like border security, thus supporting me anti-terrorist campaign goals. We should also make full use of the concept of the PfP Trust Fund to support the Partner nations in need of painful reforms in the security sector. One way of doing this is to extend the existing PfP Trust Fund scope. This may include, but is not limited to, projects on reforming of the armed forces; retraining the retired military personnel; military base conversion; promoting effective defense planning and budgeting under the democratic control, etc.

Mr. Chairman,

And my final point would be that, since a modem civilized state is based both on accountable, democratically controlled armed forces as well as on sound political institutions, combination of the NATO and EU efforts could be instrumental in developing stable democratic societies in our countries. Both NATO and EU are developing extensive contacts with the Partners individually or collectively. Therefore, I believe that, farther progress of NATO-EU relations could be useful in developing better cooperative mechanisms and projects with Partner nations, thus enhancing the effectiveness of our cooperation. Thank you.

EAPCs Role in the International Fight Against Terrorism

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished colleagues,

NATO/EAPC has played a key role in shaping the framework of the modem international security. Bringing together 46 Partner nations under the EAPC umbrella created conditions for unprecedented cooperation and establishment ofEuro-Atlantic community with commonly shared values.

NATO/EAPC reaction to the outrageous acts of terrorism of September 11 has showed the unity ofEuro-Atlantic community and its readiness to commonly oppose this plague of the 21s1 century. During our last meeting in December 2001 we have specified a range of activities to counter the menace of terrorism. Since then concrete steps have been undertaken in this direction, but still a lot remains to be done.

EAPC and Partnership for Peace as essential pillars of modem security architecture will continue to play an important role in cementing genuine partnership in order to meet the security concerns of all Allied and Partner Nations.

We consider PfP exercises as one of the primary tools for enhancing the interoperability with NATO and increasing operational capabilities of Partner nations. Georgia actively participates in such PfP activities, m June 2001 we hosted Cooperative Partner-01, the first PfP full-scale exercise in the Caucasus. Now, we are working hard to successfully conduct Cooperative Best Effort-02 in Georgia late this month.

Due to the changed security environment we should consider expanding the scope of PfP activities to areas, such as border control, in order to address pressing security concerns. Exercise scenarios must reflect current threats and challenges, like terrorism and address needs for enhanced civil emergency and disaster preparedness. Georgia is ready to host such an exercise in the future. In a process of enhancing consultation mechanisms and coordination of activities in a fight against terrorism new look on other national agencies and capabilities involved is required.

We are grateful for the opportunity to work out several projects with Luxembourg within PfP Trust Fund framework. Adopting PfP Trust Fund policy to Partners' security needs, like supporting defence reforms, enhancing capabilities to tackle terrorist threats would greatly contribute to regional stability.

Frozen conflict zones along Euro-Atlantie space is not only a source for regional instability, but also serve as the safe haven for terrorists and organized crime, natural transit route for illegal drugs and arms trafficking, WMD proliferation.

Georgia, itself, has bitterly experienced aggressive separatism, extremism and terrorism. We would like to express our gratitude to the USA for launching Train and Equip Program aimed to increase Georgian Armed Forces operational capabilities in fighting terrorism. We would also welcome die involvement of other Allied and Partner nations in this program. Expanding consultation mechanisms and adjusting PfP tools to develop Partners' capabilities in addressing regional security challenges would greatly enhance Partnership value for us.

The ability to fully control and defend national airspace is of great concern for Georgia today. We are confident that Air Situation Data Exchange with NATO would be mutually beneficial for all parties involved, especially its value will increase dramatically if exercised at regional level.

Georgia welcomes the idea of establishing PfP cell in the Caucasus, in Georgian capital - Tbilisi, with clear Terms of Reference (TOR), which would greatly enhance, speed up and coordinate efforts in addressing particular Partner's needs as well as promote greater regional cooperation among nations in South Caucasus.

Georgia welcomes the new wave of NATO enlargement in the up-coming Prague Summit. We highly appreciate the establishment of the Council of Twenty (NATO-Russia Council) and hope that alongside with other issues it will result in an intensified dialogue on a number of problems, including regional issues.

We are sure that new realities within the Euro-Atlantic area will increase the scope of cooperation between partners on bilateral and regional level addressing different needs and particular circumstances of all partners, including those in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Entering a new phase of our development we should strengthen our solidarity and unity in order to meet the requirements of the twenty-first century.

Thank you.

Press Statement by US Department of State Spokesman J. Rubin, OSCE Monitoring of Russian-Georgian Border,
23 February 2000

Supporting Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity is a central element of U.S. policy in the Caucasus region, and we remain deeply concerned about the potential for spillover of violence from the North Caucasus into Georgia. We note Acting Russian President Putin's December 11, 1999, statement that "Russia will never cross the border of a sovereign state."