On December 12, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai visited Georgia and met with Georgian leaders, including Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, discussing NATO-Georgia cooperation.
Appathurai said he had “an excellent discussion” with the Georgian PM, covering “full range of issues,” including “steady reforms and steady progress in Georgia’s way towards NATO.” He said PM Bakhtadze “expressed the Government’s continued firm determination to carry out the will of the people, which is the Euro-Atlantic future.”
“Of course, I expressed my commitment and our commitment to help make that happen,” Appathurai stated, adding that they discussed “concrete ways to do that in terms of more cooperation on Black Sea security, more support for reform here in Georgia, which is happening well, and practical cooperation on operations.”
“Next year we will see more NATO in Georgia. We shall have a lot of high-level visits… more than this year. So that we will really show the Georgian people that this cooperation pays off and that NATO is committed,” Appathurai underscored.
According to him, the two spoke of Georgia’s recent presidential elections as well. Appathurai said he congratulated Bakhtadze on the elections but also expressed concern about “the polarization of political dialogue.” “What we want in NATO is inclusive political process,” Appathurai noted.
In Tbilisi, NATO envoy met also with Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani, Defense Minister Levan Izoria and President-elect Salome Zurabishvili, as well as the opposition’s presidential candidate Grigol Vashadze and civil society organizations. James Appathurai also delivered a public lecture for students.