Georgian security on agenda at defence forum

President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Defence Minister Irakli Alasania delivered speeches on the conference., 27 Jun 2014 - 14:04, Tbilisi,Georgia

A two-day international defence conference has started today at the Sheraton Hotel Batumi.

Over the next two days Defence Ministers and officials for nearby countries will participate in the Georgian Defence and Security Conference (GDSC) and discuss important topics, such as Euro-Atlantic security, NATO enlargement, the upcoming NATO Summit in Wales, ongoing reforms in the Georgian defence sphere, the ISAF international mission and the strategic importance of the Black Sea Basin.

The conference was opened by Defence Minister Irakli Alasania, who thanked guests for their participation and support of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

In his speech Alasania underlined European security challenges, the importance of signing the Association Agreement (AA) between Georgia and the EU, reforms carried out in the Georgian defensive sphere, Georgia’s contribution to international missions and the Ukrainian crisis.

"Today’s and tomorrow’s discussions should trigger ideas on how to set up our security on the background of the challenges of Russian militaristic policy,” he said.

"We are very happy to see the trans-atlantic unity parallel to the events that have taken place in Ukraine. However, we analyze to what extent are these measures enough to stop Russia on the path of achieving its goals, which undoubtedly raises concerns on its sphere of influence abroad,” Alasania announced.

President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili addressed forum guests and said Georgia, and the whole world, was facing serious defence and security challenges.

"The challenges that we are facing need to be answered. When three democratic elections were held, our political system has proven that Georgia is able to ensure a peaceful transition of power. This is a way, a direction, which determines stability. This is the message for our partners that we are part of international independence,” the President announced.

Margvelashvili also noted the process of democratic consolidation had reached the final stage and all Georgian citizens believed the system was democratic.

"We are actively involved in the formation of defence and security. The Ministry of Defence is operating at a high level. The partnership of Georgian military personnel has taken us to the point when we can say that 11,000 militaries are corresponding to standards, which we are striving to reach. Our participation in ISAF and EU missions demonstrates our attitude and our responsibility,” he said.

The Defence and Security Conference is being held for the ninth time in Georgia. In recent years, the GDSC was established as a forum for security policy discussions in the South Caucasus region, where a wide range of issues were dealt with, including regional security and current and future challenges in the field of defence.

Those invited to the forum include the Latvian Minister of Defence Raimonds Vejonis, Estonian Minister of Defence Sven Mikser, Minister for International Security Strategy Andrew Murrison, Senator of the Polish Republic Bogdan Klich, as well as high-ranking politicians and representatives of international think-tanks.

Members of executive and legislative bodies, representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited to Georgia, as well as NGOs and international organisations are also taking part in the conference.

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili will make closing remarks at the GDSC.

 Georgian Defence and Security Conference in Sheraton Hotel, Batumi.