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Javier Colomina: Georgia should be ready for the decisive moment

NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia at a press briefing at the NATO Liaison Office, following his meetings with Georgian officials, said that there is “strong concern” in NATO “about the level of implementation of reforms” and that Georgia is still “the fundamental partner for NATO”.

Javier Colomina said he had good meetings with Defense and Deputy Foreign Ministers, President and Speaker of the Parliament. He said he would be meeting with the Foreign Minister and Prime Minister tomorrow.

He said he conveyed the message of support to Georgia, noting that Georgia is “very valued partner for NATO”. This was reinforced, he said with decisions taken at the Madrid Summit on reinforcement of the SNGP and on Tailored Support Measures package, as well as providing additional financial resources and enhancing political dialogue.

The Special Representative noted “concern over the rhythm of the reforms”, as well as over “the substance of some of the reforms”. He welcomed the withdrawal of the “Foreign agents” law, adding that he has “conveyed concerns on the level of implementation of reforms, in particular, judicial, electoral reforms” and decisions on central electoral commission.

He said that he also “conveyed message with regard to support to Ukraine,” adding that “it’s of utmost priority since the war started last year” and that it will be the first priority of the Vilnius summit. He stressed: “We expect form our partners, to do their utmost in supporting Ukraine.”

Asked about the upcoming NATO Vilnius Summit on July 11-12 and what Georgia could expect from it Colomina said the preparations are still ongoing. He said NATO expects Georgia’s participation, and no matter who will attend the Summit from Georgia, it will be an important venue to take stock of the Madrid Summit decisions’ implementation. He said NATO expects to adopt strong communiqué, which will be a strong political declaration since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. He also said that “Georgia will be part of that communiqué with language on the country’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.”

Asked about Georgia’s future in the Alliance, Special Representative said Georgia is still a fundamental partner for NATO. He added :” The work we do bilaterally with Georgia is excellent” noting “we use every tool we have”. He said NATO is satisfied with the level of interoperability and professionalism of Georgia’s armed forces and with practical cooperation, as well as political dialogue. He repeated: “At the same time we’ve been saying that there are reforms that this country should implement and there is strong concern about the level of implementation of reforms, the rhythm and sometimes the substance.”

Responding on the additional question on reforms Colomina said: “We don’t have those timeframes as EU does, but the concern is basically the same, because our recommendations of 2021 basically were the same as 12 recommendations of EU.”

He noted that NATO wants to see the reforms implemented. He also noted he had a meeting with opposition today, and said NATO expects opposition to also play a role. He stressed: “But in general the last two years weren’t the best years in recent Georgian history, I would say. We will continue to support, we’ll continue to convey the messages of concern when we have them” – adding that Georgia should figure out how to move on forward “from the situation where they are” and should “be ready for the decisive moment to come” on not just a EU candidate status. He said: “The war in Ukraine will be over, decisions will have to be made at different levels, also regarding the Euro-Atlantic aspirations”, and for that they need to be ready and right now they are not.”

Colomina then added that “some reactions”, such as after the unilateral decision by Russia to resume flights “are also of concern to us”. He noted: “I have conveyed this message to your authorities: the reactions from Georgia at the moment when we believe we all should be supporting Ukraine, we believe this sort of reaction could cast shadow over [as Russia could] finding space for evading sanctions”. He added: “We should be all behind Ukraine.”

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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