Defence Minister discusses Georgia’s NATO future in Canada

Georgia’s Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli is attending an international conference in Canada. Photo by Defence Ministry’s webpage., 23 Nov 2015 - 13:57, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s ambitions for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) membership and Russia’s aggressive activities on Georgian soil were high on the agenda of Georgia’s Defence Minister during her official visit to Canada.

Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli was one of hundreds of representatives who attended the Halifax International Security Forum, held from November 20-22 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

During one of the sessions Khidasheli stressed that Russia revealed aggression to Georgia long before the August 2008 war.

Georgia was among the 300 representatives from more than 60 states that gathered to address regional and global security issues, existing challenges and make future plans.

At the session titled Cooperate, Contain, or Conquer: Prioritizing Strategy 70 Years On, Georgia’s top defence official delivered a speech that focused on the challenges and future threats the West faced after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall.

Georgia's Defence Minister met with her Canadian counterpart, Photo by Defence Ministry webpage.

Within the framework of the forum Khidasheli met with the Deputy Defence Secretary of the United States (US) Robert Work, National Defence Minister of Canada Harjit Sajjan, Defence Minister of the Netherlands Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Defence Minister of Albania Mimi Kodheli, Defence Minister of the Republic of Macedonia Zoran Jolevski and Montenegro’s Defence Minister Milica Pejanonic Durisic.

A major part of all of her meetings related to discussing Georgia-NATO relations and the implementation of the Substantial Package NATO granted Georgia last year.

Following the meetings the Georgian Defence Minister unveiled new details regarding Georgia’s relationship with its foreign partners.

I spoke with the Defence Minister of Albania and we specified the details of our next meeting, as we intent to visit [Albania] in December this year.
From the Netherlands we asked for more support in the frame of the NATO-Georgia Substantial Package. We invited the Minister to Georgia. We also discussed several concrete formats of future cooperation,” said Khidasheli.
When it comes to Montenegro, it is one of the hottest issues right now as we wait to see if the NATO open-door policy will be confirmed in December this year by inviting Montenegro to join NATO,” Khidasheli said.

The Georgian official also invited her Canadian counterpart to Georgia, who promised Khidasheli closer cooperation as Georgia worked to implement the obligations outlined in the NATO-Georgia current deal.

Canada was due to participate in the creation of the Vocational Development School, scheduled to open in Georgia in 2016, as one of the obligations of the Substantial Package.

The forum ended yesterday and Khidasheli has completed all her official meetings in Canada.