No one is above the law, says NATO regional envoy

Appathurai: "NATO will stand with Georgia". Photo by RFE/RL, 26 Mar 2014 - 14:08, Tbilisi,Georgia

A NATO special envoy believes transparency in an investigation against Georgia’s ex-President will prevent the country from "revenge policy” perceptions.

James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General’s special representative for Caucasus and Central Asia, said everyone who committed a crime should be judged and the process needed to be transparent, in an interview with the Georgian Public Broadcaster yesterday.

"We need to make sure the system is based on the law and the law works,” Appathurai said, adding no one in his country, even high officials, stood beyond the law.

The NATO representative discussed Georgia’s North-Atlantic perspectives too. Appathurai said the country’s latest progress was "obvious” and now NATO was challenged with ways to "move Georgia closer to NATO”.

He claimed he was sure there would be a positive step made in September but he did not know whether this would be a Membership Action Plan (MAP) or not.

"Whatever it will be, I hope Georgia will be satisfied with it,” Appathurai stated.

He had three messages to deliver to the country. Firstly, Georgia could be sure in NATO’s support; secondly, Georgia had been very successful in recent years and NATO wanted this success to continue; and finally, the integration issue needed to be followed step-by-step and the expectations needed not to be too high.

Appathurai said NATO has not yet discussed Georgia’s possible MAP at the highest level so he could not say anything for certain regarding this issue.