15 August 2008 – Tbilisi – Today marks an historic event in the partnership between Georgia and NATO. For the first time, the North Atlantic Council comprised of all the Permanent Representatives of the 26 member countries of the Alliance and the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization arrived in Tbilisi to conduct high level talks about Georgia’s progress towards NATO membership. During the two day meeting, the framework of the NATO-Georgia Commission will be signed.
The NATO-Georgia Commission will be officially established through the signing of the framework document and the first session of the Commission will be held on Monday. The NATO-Georgia Commission was a result of a special NAC foreign ministerial meeting on 19 August 2008. The NGC is a new political body, which will follow up on the decision taken at the NATO Summit in Bucharest in April 2008 that Georgia will join the Alliance one day. Additionally, the NGC will serve as the body for the Alliance to assist Georgia in surveying the damage to civil infrastructure caused by the war and assess the state of the Georgian Armed Forces.
Talks will begin with a bi-lateral meeting between the Secretary General of NATO Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and the President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili followed by the official opening session of the NAC meeting. The Secretary General of NATO and the NAC will also conduct meetings with the Prime Minster of Georgia Lado Gurgenidze.
In the afternoon on Monday, NATO will host the opening ceremony of the Partnership for Peace Trust Fund designed to dismantle a stockpile of missiles in Georgia aimed at increasing security in the region. The financial management agreement was signed in Brussels on 18 June 2008 and has been an effort led by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The Secretary General and many Permanent Representatives will also meet with Georgian civil society. Activities are planned with the Information Office of NATO, which will include a tour of the Georgian Air Operations Centre, a roundtable discussion with members of the opposition, a meeting with the Office of the Ombudsman, and with the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS). The Secretary General also will address students at Tbilisi State University.
GOVERNMENT OF GEORGIA PRESS RELEASE