Dear Secretary General,
Let me start with stating that Georgia has already manifested its readiness to join efforts of the civilized world to combat the menace of terrorism. Since the early 90s Georgia has itself bitterly experienced such threats as aggressive separatism, extremism and terrorism and, therefore, is vitally interested in the success of the international anti-terrorist coalition.
Here, I would like to focus on the following:
One of the key lessons of the September 11th tragedy is that a comprehensive approach towards all sources of terrorism is absolutely essential. One of them is the existence of territories uncontrolled by central authorities, providing a safe harbor for terrorist and extremist groups. In this context I would stress that the settlement of all internal and regional conflicts, specifically of the protracted or so-called "frozen" ones, representing one of the main sources of instability, should be high on the agenda of the coalition.
These unresolved conflicts pose a threat not only locally, but can easily grow into a large confrontation, spilling over on the neighboring countries and thus destabilizing the broader region. We have just faced such a threat when on 27th and 28th of November the Russian military aircraft violated the Georgian airspace, undertaking air strikes against our territory.
This event as well as the recent outbreaks of violence in Abkhazia have clearly shown that without elimination of such sources of instability the objectives set by the international coalition would not be fully met.
Georgia welcomes the efforts of all states declaring their support for the antiterrorist coalition. Russia's active and determined stance in this regard is especially noteworthy.
We are convinced in the advantages of future expansion of ties between NATO and Russia. We hope that it could not only encompass the anti-terrorist domain but would also result in an intensified dialogue on a number of outstanding problems in Euro-Atlantic area, including regional issues.
While discussing the elaboration of a new framework between NATO and one EAPC member, we shall also start thinking about the future of the EAPC as well as the further development of Partnership in general, and an increased cooperation with the other Partners, in particular. The 10th anniversary of NACC/EAPC is a good occasion for launching such discussions leading us to the Prague Summit.
Giving the EAPC more weight in terms of tackling and solving outstanding issues might be one step in this direction. Another one could be deepening of a regional approach within the EAPC regarding certain parts of the EAPC area (the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia), including more active political and security-related discussions on the challenges to regional stability. This would be based on the work already undertaken in this institution, specifically in Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Groups.
Reflecting on the changing security environment, the Partnership, too, could take new directions. I think that the PfP shall attempt to incorporate new fields, like border security, thus supporting the anti-terrorist campaign goals. We should also make full use of the PfP Trust Fund mechanisms to support the Partners in need, thus practically contributing to the objectives of the Partnership.
Georgia continues to consider the CFE Treaty as the cornerstone of European security. We fully associate ourselves with the assessment of adapted CFE implementation given by NAC Communiqué yesterday. Georgia, too, underscores the importance of the transparent fulfillment of all the commitments undertaken in Istanbul in 1999.
In this regard, the Georgian position remains unchanged: the final state of the Russian military forces reduction process must be a complete liberation of Georgian territory from foreign military presence. Like the Allies, we stand ready to start the ratification process of the Adapted Treaty as soon as all States Parties fully comply with the CFE Final Act commitments.
Statement by H.E. Mr. Irakli Menagarishvili, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia at the EAPC Foreign Ministers Meeting - 7 December 2001
Dear Secretary General,