The Minister of Defence of Georgia has started a two-day official visit to the capital of Belgium, where she is meeting European Union (EU) high officials and attending her first NATO defence ministerial.
Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration plans and the country’s participation in NATO missions are the main topics of the upcoming meetings Minister Tinatin Khidasheli is due to attend over the next two days. One of the reasons behind Khidasheli’s visit to Brussels is so she can attend a NATO Defence Ministerial. Specifically, Minister Khidasheli will attend a NATO council session where defence ministers of nations participating in the Resolute Support Mission, as well as partner nations, will take part.
The mission led in Afghanistan is on top of the agenda. Besides that more than 15 meetings are scheduled with my colleagues. This is my first Ministerial. I will meet with defence ministers of all NATO countries, with whom I have not had meetings with before, Khidasheli said.
After the ministerial the Georgian Defence Minister will hold bilateral meetings with her foreign counterparts. Already on her trip Khidasheli met with the Deputy Secretary General for the European External Action Service (EEAS) Maciej Popowski, where the pair stressed the importance of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia. Popovski also noted that the contribution of Georgian soldiers in the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) was “very important and highly appreciated”.
Khidasheli also met with chairman of the EU Military Committee, General Patrick de Rousiers today and spoke about Georgia’s participation in EU-led missions. General de Rousiers made a special mention of Georgia’s participation in the Central African Republic and Mali missions and noted Georgia was making “a very large contribution” to global security. He also expressed hope that Georgian soldiers would continue to be involved in future EU missions, if necessary.
Also today Minister Khidasheli met with members of the European Security and Defence Subcommittee and discussed the security situation in the Black Sea region and developments in Ukraine. Meanwhile in general Members of European Parliament expressed their full support to Georgia as it progressed towards EU and NATO integration.
“We have received support from almost everyone, which is constantly seen in the European attitude towards Georgia. Despite the challenges it is important that Georgia’s case is always keep at the top of the agenda, while the Ukrainian issue is in focus,” Khidasheli said.