National Security Council Meeting, March 23, 2017. Photo: Presidential administration
The National Security Council, chaired by President Giorgi Margvelashvili and attended by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, held a meeting on March 23 to discuss the security environment in the Black Sea region, Georgia-NATO relations, defense reforms and the President’s ongoing initiative for a “unified” National Security Strategy.
President Margvelashvili said after the meeting that discussions focused on how Georgia could “better promote” the country’s interests at the upcoming NATO Summit in Brussels, scheduled for May 25, 2017.
“You all know that only NATO member countries are invited to the Brussels Summit. Therefore, Georgia faces an important task – to coordinate the work of the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the National Security Council, the Prime Minister and the President, so that Georgia receives adequate attention [at the Summit] through the support of our partners,” Margvelashvili said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Dondua said after the meeting that discussions also focused on Georgia’s “contribution” to the strategic dialogue on NATO’s efforts in strengthening security in the Black Sea region.
NSC Secretary Davit Rakviashvili added that the meeting participants spoke about Russia’s “militarization” of Abkhazia, referring to recent media reports that Moscow deployed the S-300 missile systems to Georgia’s breakaway region.
“The processes taking place in the occupied territories is a challenge for Georgia … But it also exceeds the scope of Georgia and is aimed at weakening the Black Sea security architecture [as a whole]. This is a complex issue and Georgia is not alone in this issue. Therefore, we also spoke about the steps that Georgia and its partners should take to minimize such threats,” Rakviashvili stated.
On March 15, Ukraine-based media platform InformNapalm posted a video footage, allegedly showing the transportation of the S-300 missile systems in Abkhazia.
Davit Rakviashvili commented on the matter a day later, saying that the report “as far as we know, is accurate” and that “some movements are taking place.”
“It further increases Russia’s military capacities in the Black Sea region that, in turn, changes the military balance [in the region]. This process is a lot more dangerous especially because since 2007, when Russia withdrew from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), Russia’s military build-up in the occupied territories has been left completely out of control,” Rakviashvili stated then.
The NSC Secretary added that Russia’s activities is not only a response “out of irritation” to Georgia’s EU visa liberalization, but also fits within its overall policy “of strengthening the military presence and capacities in the Black Sea region.” Therefore, Rakviashvili stated, Russia’s moves "require a reaction not only from Georgia, but also from NATO members from the Black Sea region, all our partners and we will definitely apeal to our partners for such a reaction."
President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, NSC Secretary Davit Rakviashvili, Defense Minister Levan Izoria, Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Dondua; Parliamentary Defense and Security Committee Chair Irakli Sesiashvili and Chief of General Staff Vladimer Chachibaia participated in the March 23 meeting.
Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, Interior Minister Giorgi Mghebrishvili and State Security Service Head Vakhtang Gomelauri, who are among permanent members of the NSC, were absent as they are not in Georgia.
Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze and Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee Chair Sopo Katsarava, who also seat at the National Security Council, did not attend the meeting, citing time conflict with the Parliament’s plenary session in Kutaisi.