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.