The Georgian delegation, led by Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, took part in Munich Security Conference on February 15-17. PM was accompanied by Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani and Defense Minister Levan Izoria. He held a number of high-level meetings with world leaders, on the sidelines of the conference and spoke about Georgia’s domestic and foreign policy.
Relations with the U.S. at “all time high”
On Friday, the Georgian delegation met with United States Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who reaffirmed the U.S. “commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and the two countries’ “strong defense relationship.”
“The leaders discussed a broad range of defense issues, including the Russian occupation of Georgian territory, support for Black Sea security and progress toward defense reform,” the Pentagon Spokesperson said, noting that they also “agreed to continued security cooperation to heighten the combat readiness and NATO interoperability of Georgian defense forces.”
Meeting yesterday with Georgia Prime Minister Bakhtadze and Defense Minister Izoria @MunSecCon, I recognized Georgia's sacrifices and service as the top per capita force contributor to @ResoluteSupport in Afghanistan and applauded the MinDef's reforms. pic.twitter.com/JnRItYCE4v
— Acting SecDef Pat Shanahan (@DepSecDef) February 16, 2019
In Munich, Mamuka Bakhtadze met also with Chairman and ranking member of U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation Ron Johnson (R) and Jeanne Shaheen (D), respectively, who reassured the Prime Minister of “bipartisan support” for Georgia in the Congress, and particularly in the Senate.
Following the meting with Vice President Mike Pence, the next day, PM Bakhtadze said U.S.-Georgia relations are at “all time high.”
Euro-Atlantic Security for Black Sea region
The Georgian PM spoke of Georgia’s NATO membership prospects at a discussion on February 16, noting that “Georgia as an aspirant country is encouraged by” North Macedonia’s accession to the Alliance, and that “this process stimulates our NATO integration.”
Bakhtadze focused on Russia’s aggression against Georgia and the country’s EU and NATO aspirations at a panel discussion on “Security in Eastern Europe” as well, saying “security in the Black Sea Region is the main precondition for Europe’s sustainable security architecture.”
“[Russia’s] aggression against Georgia in 2008, and then aggression against Ukraine… undermined entirely the idea of security and peace… that’s a threat for entire Euro-Atlantic community, that’s a big threat, and… unless we have a tangible and strong security in the Black Sea region there is no way that the security can be sustainable in Europe as well,” Mamuka Bakhtadze told the security conference on Saturday, urging that the “nations who believe in democracy” should unify and consolidate their efforts.
Meetings with counterparts
On the sidelines of the conference, PM Bakhtadze held a number of other meetings with world leaders, including British Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Sir Alan Duncan, President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović, Belgian Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Didier Reynders, Norwegian PM Erna Solberg, and Greek PM Alexis Tsipras.
Foreign Minister Zalkaliani met separately with his counterparts from Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Sudan, Togo and Tunisia. He discussed German-Georgia relations with Jan Hecker, foreign policy adviser of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and German MPs Norbert Röttgen and Annalena Baerbock, as well as hailed EU-Georgia ties with Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.