Statement of Georgian Minister of Defense
Lt. Gen. D. Tevzadze on the Blackseafor,
EAPC Meeting of the Defense Ministers, Brussels,
8 June 2001


The BLACKSEAFOR is a regional, stand-alone and at the same time a transparent arrangement. The activity of the BLACKSEAFOR is neither directed against any state nor intended to form a military alliance against any state or a group of states.

The mission of the force will be to contribute to the further strengthening of friendship, good relations and mutual confidence among the Black Sea littoral states as well as to improve peace and stability in the region, through the enhancement of co-operation and interoperability among the naval forces. According to these missions the nature of its tasks will be as follows:

a. Exercises;
b. Search and Rescue (SAR) operations;
c. Humanitarian Assistance (HA) operations;
d. Mine Counter Measures (MCM) Operations;
e. Environmental Protection;
f. Goodwill Visits;
g. Any other tasks agreed by all the Parties.

When directed by the Foreign/Defense Ministers or their authorized representatives, the Force may conduct Peace Support Operations in support of United Nations Security Council and OSCE Resolutions, as well as operations against smuggling, organized crime and terrorism

The engagement in this new initiation of all Black Sea littoral countries gives a firm belief that BLACKSEAFOR will be a good contribution to the security of the Euro-Atlantic area and particularly to its Southern flank in the Black Sea region.

The participation of Russian Federation in this agreement represents strong basis for BLACKSEAFOR to promote the cooperation and stability within the Black Sea basin area.


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full text:


Statement
by Lt. Gen. David Tevzadze, Minister of Defence of Georgia

Mr. Chairman,
Dear Colleagues,
The EAPC provides an excellent framework for dialogue and consultation between NATO and Partners, thereby enhancing transparency and building confidence. Military-to-military contacts through joint activities such as military exercises serve as a meaningful part of the process of confidence building among nations in various regions of the Euro-Atlantic area. This month, Georgia hosts Cooperative Partner-2001, which is the first NATO/Partner full-scale field exercise in South Caucasus.

In the context of PfP's contributions to Euro-Atlantic crisis management capabilities, I would like to mention new initiative of Black Sea littoral countries - the BLACKSEAFOR (Naval Co-operation Task Force). The agreement on the establishment of the force was signed in Istanbul on April 2, 2001. Preparations are currently under-way to activate the force in September 2001.

The BLACKSEAFOR is a regional, stand-alone and at the same time a transparent arrangement. The activity of the BLACKSEAFOR is neither directed against any state nor intended to form a military alliance against any state or a group of states. It's mission is to contribute to the further strengthening of friendship, good relations and mutual confidence among the Black Sea littoral states as well as to promote peace and stability in the region, through the enhancement of co-operation and interoperability among the naval forces.

We welcome increased emphasis of PfP program in promoting defence reform, which was several times outlined by the Secretary General in his statements. We consider PARP Ministerial Guidance as an important tool in assisting us to review our Partnership Goals in a new PARP cycle. We believe that tailoring our IPP and harmonisation of the various PfP programs with PARP is in the best interests of all the Partners. It helps us in focusing on defence reform by exploring opportunities of various PfP programs and tools.

We welcome continuous focus in EAPC format on promoting regional security cooperation in South East Europe and Caucasus. The security in the Caucasus region cannot be separated from the European security in large. However, the events in South Eastern Europe show that a failure to fully commit and provide unconditional and comprehensive support in building strong, democratic, and stable states could turn apart whole Europe. Therefore, the regional cooperation in South Caucasus in EAPC format needs to be re-invigorated not only within Ad Hoc Working Group format. EAPC's wider approach in promoting stability and resolving conflicts in the region is needed. The appointment of Special Representative of the Secretary General for Caucasus region could be one of the first steps in this direction.

Thank you for your attention.

Complementary material to the Statement

Since the inception of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Georgia has year-by-year tried to gain its foothold in the European community and to contribute to the overall European security system.

Currently Georgia's defence and security institutions are under the reorganisation process. The reforms are under-way in the Ministry of Defence according to ISAB (International Security Advisory Board) and USECOM recommendations. Focus is on improving training and education systems, developing logistics, command, control, communications and intelligence systems compatible with NATO forces, with special attention to PARP declared units.

Our goal is an establishment of small, mobile, high readiness and cost effective army, with modern equipment, built along NATO standards and interoperable with NATO forces. But the reduction of the Armed Forces requires the special social measures to be taken for helping the exempted military personnel to be integrated as less painfully as possible. Keeping in mind hard budgetary deficiency the implementation of this task is quite a dilemma.

Despite the various impeding factors (mainly financial) considerable progress has been achieved:

· General Staff was functionally separated from the Ministry of Defence;
· General staff structure was built along western joint staff model.

Democratic control of the armed forces and civil-military relations are another pressing issues on the agenda. Increased civilian control on defence planning and more transparent defence expenditure are an important step forward in building new type of military in Georgia.

Our MoD staff previously was manned by military personnel. It is not a case anymore - we are trying to introduce more and more young and educated civil servants in order to replace military in a positions, which are not directly related to pure war fighting jobs. Deputy minister is already a civilian political appointee. By the year 2004 the staff of the Ministry of Defence will be mostly civilian, including minister himself.

According to the recommendations, the Defence Resource Management Division has moved from the General Staff to the MoD staff under the supervision of the Minister of Defence. Together with the representatives of the US Institute for Defense Analysis, Defence Resource Management Division determined specific priorities based on which the 2001-2010 Ministerial Guidance for the development of the Georgian Armed Forces was elaborated. This document includes short-term 2000-2005 and long-term 2006-2010 development programs.

One of the main priorities for us is also the development of the Georgian Joint Military Academy's curriculum in compliance with the model of the Sandhurst Academy, UK. That means the creation of one-year officers' training course. Western-trained Georgian military instructors will manage the training process.

At the same time, rigorous English language training is underway, which is a basement for deepening co-operation with NATO and Partner Armed Forces, and provides better opportunities in conducting joint exercises as well as enhances interoperability with NATO forces.

Georgia's participation in the PARP process underlines the strong determination of its government to complete successfully the reforms of armed forces. The first success in implementation of PGs was the Georgian platoon, which carries out peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. We are certain to continue on this direction with plans to introduce a light infantry company (11 Bde) by the end of 2001, and by the end of 2002 light infantry battalion, for NATO-led PSO. However, scarce resources available for our military makes extremely hard to fulfill the PGs in time.

PfP remains a valuable practical mechanism, which facilitates the accomplishment of objectives set by the military reforms. But the program is also a good tool for strengthening Georgia's political ties with the North Atlantic Alliance. Our continuous engagement in PfP is considered as of great importance for further NATO-Georgia relations.

The same reason raises the importance of the PFP Exercise "Cooperative Partner-2001", which is the first NATO/Partner full-scale live exercise in South Caucasus. To be conducted during 10-23 of June 2001, "Cooperative Partner" will be the first exercise held in Georgia under the Partnership for Peace Program.

The emphasis during this exercise will be placed upon enhancing greater understanding and confidence between NATO and participating Partner Nations in the planning and conducting Humanitarian Assistance Operations.

A commitment to conduct such an exercise, in terms of its complex logistics, was not an easy decision, because of really limited military and financial resources. Nevertheless, the decision was made, as one more clear expression of the national will to strengthen the ties of cooperation and friendship, to enhance its military capabilities in order to contribute to the international peace and stability.

In the context of regional cooperation it's worth mentioning about the BLACKSEAFOR (the Black Sea Naval Co-operation Task Group) - the new initiation of Black Sea littoral countries. The agreement on the establishment of the force was signed in Istanbul on April 2, 2001. Preparations are currently under-way to activate the force in September 2001. The states parties to that treaty are:
· Bulgaria;
· Georgia;
· Romania;
· Russian Federation;
· Turkey;
· Ukraine;

The BLACKSEAFOR is a regional, stand-alone and at the same time a transparent arrangement. The activity of the BLACKSEAFOR is neither directed against any state nor intended to form a military alliance against any state or a group of states.

The mission of the force will be to contribute to the further strengthening of friendship, good relations and mutual confidence among the Black Sea littoral states as well as to improve peace and stability in the region, through the enhancement of co-operation and interoperability among the naval forces.
According to these missions the nature of its tasks will be as follows:

a. Exercises;
b. Search and Rescue (SAR) operations;
c. Humanitarian Assistance (HA) operations;
d. Mine Counter Measures (MCM) Operations;
e. Environmental Protection;
f. Goodwill Visits;
g. Any other tasks agreed by all the Parties.

When directed by the Foreign/Defense Ministers or their authorized representatives, the Force may conduct Peace Support Operations in support of United Nations Security Council and OSCE Resolutions, as well as operations against smuggling, organized crime and terrorism

The engagement in this new initiation of all Black Sea littoral countries gives a firm belief that BLACKSEAFOR will be a good contribution to the security of the Euro-Atlantic area and particularly to its Southern flank in the Black Sea region.

The participation of Russian Federation in this agreement represents strong basis for BLACKSEAFOR to promote the cooperation and stability within the Black Sea basin area.

Georgia considers the implementation of the obligations undertaken by Russia on the OSCE Istanbul Summit of 1999 as the top priority for it's security and expects constructive collaboration from Russian counterparts, which will be the large contribution to Georgian-Russian further cooperation.

Currently the agreement is achieved on full transfer of Vaziani military base (situated near Tbilisi) to the Georgian side till July 01 of 2001. The next round of negotiations about the duration of Russian forces presence in Batumi and Akhalkalaki is scheduled on the second half of June of 2001.

The support from international community in dialogue with Russia is vital for Georgia. We believe this support will continue to grow in future. The security in the Caucasus region cannot be separated from the European security in large. Instability in one part of the Euro-Atlantic area threatens the stability of the whole region.

Membership Action Plan launched on the Washington Summit, gives an invaluable opportunity and useful guidance (regulation) to the aspirant countries for bringing its political, economic, military, security, legal and other structures in compliance with NATO standards, preparing them towards prospective NATO membership.

Georgia aspires to play a significant role in enhancing the stability and mutual trust in our turbulent region. To transform Caucasus into the reliable and stable region, free of violence and capable to contribute to the peaceful development of the Euro-Atlantic area is the highest priority for Georgia.

"1. We, the Heads of State or Government of the Member states of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) gathered in Istanbul on November 17 1999 to appraise, in the light of the latest political, economic and security developments in Europe, the new opportunities created by the transformation of the BSEC into a regional economic cooperation. Following the achievements since the adoption of the Istanbul and Moscow Summit Declarations, we confirm our adherence to the provisions of the Yalta Summit Declaration and solemnly reaffirm our political will to contribute to peace and security in the BSEC area by means of multilateral economic cooperation.

"2. Having held our gathering on the eve of the OSCE Istanbul Summit of 1999, we reaffirm our adherence to the principles of the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and the OSCE principles, norms and decisions. We believe that the new Charter for European Security, to be adopted within the framework of the OSCE will strengthen the non-hierarchical and mutually beneficial cooperation among the OSCE and other organizations and institutions. In that context enhanced cooperation between the BSEC and the OSCE in their respective fields of competence will serve the goals of a stable peace and prosperity in the whole of the OSCE area.

"3. We share a common view that during its seven years of existence, the BSEC has contributed substantially to the process of enhancement of peace and security in the BSEC area by applying the pragmatic concept that economic cooperation is an effective confidence-building measure and serves as a pillar in the new European architecture.

"4. We confirm our commitment to promote effective economic, social and democratic reforms in the BSEC area, the establishments of vigorous market economies and the development of civil societies, which are of importance for the BSEC area cooperation. This commitment will also be instrumental to meeting the aspirations of the member states wishing to fully integrate into Europe.

"5. We appreciate the role attached to the BSEC by the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe in promoting mutual understanding, improving the overall political climate and fostering economic development in the BSEC area. We welcome the fact that the Stability Pact emphasizes the BSEC engagement to peace, security and stability through economic cooperation and invites our Organization to participate in its implementation. We are committed to the implementation of the Stability Pact objectives in full conformity with the BSEC objectives and goals, in close cooperation with the other international organizations and in accordance with the ''Contribution of the BSEC to the Stability Pact'', adopted by the Thessaloniki Council of Ministers on October 27, 1999.

"6. We welcome the continuation of the BSEC-EU dialogue at the BSEC Thessaloniki Ministerial Council and we regard the BSEC Platform for Cooperation with the EU as an appropriate basis for interaction in fields of common interest. Therefore, we appeal to the EU to develop a comprehensive strategy towards the BSEC area and to assist the BSEC in the elaboration and implementation of concrete regional projects.

"7. We are convinced that the new identity, acquired by the BSEC as a regional economic organization requires, whenever possible, resolutions and decisions with a mechanism for their implementation, as well as a rapid evolution from the stage of project development into the one of project implementation. We consider as a high priority the establishment of an implementation mechanism of the BSEC Agreement on Emergency Assistance and Emergency Response, in view of the recent tragic disasters in the region.

"8. We share the conviction that at the new stage of consolidation of the BSEC, the implementation of concrete joint projects for cooperation should be the core of its activities. The most rewarding perspective before the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank is the realization of viable and bankable projects of interest to the Member States with as large as possible co-financing by other interested banking and financial institutions. We reiterate our commitment to support and promote BSTDB as the financial pillar of the BSEC for enhancing the economic development of the region.

"9. We applaud the U.N. General Assembly for granting Observer Status to the BSEC. This act enabled the BSEC to join the family of international organizations as an equal partner, assisting the region to engage in a more competitive manner in the globalization process.

"10. We emphasize the role of the Parliamentary Assembly as the parliamentary dimension of the BSEC, providing effective and close interaction among national parliaments and consistent support to the BSEC cooperation process.

"11. We highly appreciate the contribution of the Republic of Turkey for the establishment of further development of the BSEC and express our gratitude to the Government and people of Turkey for the opportunity to meet in Istanbul, the birth place of the BSEC."

A.F.

Istanbul, 18/11/1999 (MPA)