Defence Minister: Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration plan is unchanged

“We are acting like a European country,” the Minister said at the meeting in Brookings., 06 May 2014 - 20:00, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s Defence Minister Irakli Alasania is continuing his official visit to the United States.

He started his second week of duties with a public speech at the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) at Brookings yesterday.

At the meeting Alasania emphasized Georgia's strong desire to integrate with the European Union and NATO while levels of insecurity increased in the region resulting from the Ukraine crisis.

In his remarks, the Minister shared his insight on the upcoming NATO summit and Georgia's approach to enhancing its relations with the West while attempting to normalize relations with Russia to lower tensions that remain from the war six years ago.

The Brookings website said current relations between Georgia and NATO and future partnership were emphasized by the Minister.

Minister Alasania said his country's path toward NATO and European integration was "unchanged" and offered the next steps on how Georgia would ensure that the credibility of the West and the credibility of NATO as an organisation would continue to be relevant to safeguard the values that everybody cherished: Freedom, democracy, and a Europe whole and free.

"We are acting like a European country,” the Minister said while mentioning a "historical moment” would open up to Georgia to join NATO and the EU.

"We regard ourselves as a future member. And this is why we are preparing ourselves institution-wise, in terms of freedom, in terms of democracy and military capabilities,” Alasania added.

The Ministed said that new Government was working to ensure the Georgian people, who elected them, were moving closer to the European way in terms of higher living standards

"One of the things we are looking forward to is the signing of the Association Agreement. The next step obviously is the NATO summit. And what the NATO summit will decide is how effectively they can assure the allies, but also the partners, like Georgia,” the Defance Minister stated.

Georgia’s relationship with Russia had a"rather mature approach” but there was more that could be done, Alasania emphasized.

"We don't have any illusions that Russia will change its behavior or policies toward Georgia's territorial integrity or NATO aspirations. But we do hope the diffusion of tensions and the decrease of military rhetoric between the two countries – this will serve Georgia's interests best,” Alasania said.

The Minister said it was Georgia’ s policy to "be uncompromising on the territorial integrity” of the country.

"Be uncompromising on NATO aspiration, membership to NATO and the EU. But at the same time be sure that we are not going give a pretext to anybody in the region, specifically to Russians, to attack us politically or otherwise,” the Minister said.