Stop NATO News: November 11, 2011

11 November 2011 — Stop NATO

  • Africa: NATO, AFRICOM And The New White Man’s Burden
  • Russia Should Prevent Military Strikes On Iran: Leading Parliamentarian
  • U.S. To Replicate NATO, NATO Missile Shield In Asia-Pacific
  • Lithuania: NATO Gathers Over 200 Energy Experts To Support Global Military Missions
  • Afghan War: NATO Rotates Georgian Cannon Fodder
  • Rasmussen Hails Georgian Outpost, Vows NATO’s Door Is Open
  • NATO Chieftain Visits Georgian Military Base, Inspects Afghan War Troops
  • North Atlantic Council: Georgia Will Be Member Of NATO
  • Saakashvili To Rasmussen: Bring Me A NATO Jacket
  • NATO Caucasus, Central Asia Representative Praises Georgia’s Integration, Pledges Membership

Africa: NATO, AFRICOM And The New White Man’s Burden

http://opinion.myjoyonline.com/pages/comment/201111/76297.php

Joy Online (Ghana)
November 10, 2011

Comment: NATO, AFRICOM and the New White Man’s Burden
Harold Green   

-Today we find Europe, along with the United States, facing serious economic challenges not unlike those faced by Europe in the late 1800s.
Like then, Europe and the United States are desperately looking for economic solutions that cannot be found within their national boundaries. With virtually all of the resources required to sustain their economies existing in other parts of the world but particularly in Africa, these Western countries are once again using feigned concern as pretext for invasion and resource theft. With competition now coming from Russia, India and China for these same resources, new and desperate strategies will have to be created in an attempt to justify these invasions.
-[W]ith the combined military budgets of member states comprising 70 percent of what the world spends on defense, this ‘new’ NATO is riding high with a renewed sense of purpose, anxious to show the world it still has relevance. Africa (and the world) should be worried.
-Like their 19th century predecessors in their mission to take on the ’burden’ of spreading the benefits of European ‘enlightenment’, this new generation of marauders from the ’North’ are poised to, once again, impose on Africa the coldness of death, destruction and displacement which so characterized their earlier campaigns of human upliftment on the Continent.

The late Muammar Al-Gaddafi:

‘Western countries are once again using feigned concern as pretext for invasion and resource theft.’

As we watched with bewilderment NATO’s military assault on Libya using ‘humanitarian intervention’ as it’s pretext, we are reminded of an earlier period of Western European ‘civilizing’ missions into Africa.

Shortly after the Berlin West African Conference of 1884-1885; armed with bibles and bullets, a host of countries: Britain; France; Germany; Belgium; and Portugal, ‘scrambled’ out of Western Europe in a quest to ‘save Africans from themselves’.

With their claim of intellectual and moral superiority echoed by Rudyard Kipling’s infamously imperialistic poem, these European powers took full control of the land and lives of their new African subjects. Africa, having not fully recovered from the ravages of both the Trans-Atlantic and the Trans-Saharan Slave Trades, was ill-prepared for what was to follow.

With the exception of Liberia and Ethiopia, every scare inch of Africa was to come under the control of European imperialist powers. The result: nearly a hundred years of a brutal occupation; further dehumanization; theft of natural resources while subjecting Africans to internal slavery.

The resulting loss of life was so high that no serious effort has ever been made to quantify it. But if Belgium, which controlled only 7% of Africa, could murder 10-15 million Congolese during this period, one could get a close estimate through extrapolation the number of African lives destroyed by Britain, France, Germany, Portugal and later Italy. Given this history, coupled with the horrific results of NATO’s incursion into Libya, what then are we to make of NATO’s new identity as a ‘human rights interventionist’?

‘Europe was in desperate need of an answer to rescue it.’

At the end of the 19th century, Western Europe was in the middle of an industrial revolution that it could not sustain with the limited resources and markets within it’s own borders. Competition for new resources and markets amongst these European powers was high. With the economic challenges resulting from the ‘Long Depression of 1873-1896’; overpopulation; a high rate of poverty and unemployment, Europe was in desperate need of an answer to rescue it from this malaise. Africa would prove to be the answer a thousand times over.

Today we find Europe, along with the United States, facing serious economic challenges not unlike those faced by Europe in the late 1800s.

Like then, Europe and the United States are desperately looking for economic solutions that cannot be found within their national boundaries. With virtually all of the resources required to sustain their economies existing in other parts of the world but particularly in Africa, these Western countries are once again using feigned concern as pretext for invasion and resource theft. With competition now coming from Russia, India and China for these same resources, new and desperate strategies will have to be created in an attempt to justify these invasions. But how new are they?

NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), a military/security alliance between Western European powers and the United States, was formed shortly after the Second World War in 1949. It came out of the same Atlantic Charter that gave birth to the United Nations. Its stated purpose was to counter what member countries perceived as an expansionist threat coming from the Soviet Union. During it’s existence there has never been any direct military engagement with the Soviet Union. Instead, proxy wars, mostly fought in Africa and Latin America, would become the order of the day. While the Soviet Union sought to (at times meekly) aid the various liberation movements in Africa and the Americas, the NATO countries, on the other hand, were interested in maintaining their spheres of economic influence in these regions.

‘New and desperate strategies will have to be created in an attempt to justify these invasions.’

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO virtually overnight had become an irrelevant military bureaucracy. Many military and foreign policy experts began to speculate that NATO would soon be relegated to the dustbin of history. To avoid what seemed to be an imminent demise, NATO began looking for new roles to play in world affairs. What has happened as a result, as one foreign policy observer describes, has been ‘mission creep on a grand scale.’

No longer concerned about guarding against the Red Army rushing across its borders, NATO countries have now armed themselves with a host of new missions (pretexts), from: fighting terrorism; saving the environment; crisis management; to ‘humanitarian intervention (sic).’ With a new futuristic $1.38 billion building on a 100 acre site in Brussels, and having expanded from it’s original 16 members to 28 (most of the new member states ironically coming from the former Soviet bloc), and with the combined military budgets of member states comprising 70 percent of what the world spends on defense, this ‘new’ NATO is riding high with a renewed sense of purpose, anxious to show the world it still has relevance. Africa (and the world) should be worried.

While significantly controlled by the US, which provides 75 percent of it’s budget, NATO is headed by the arrogant and opportunistic Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former prime minister of Denmark. With a very aggressive agenda for this made-over NATO including offering NATO’s services to the United Nations as a ‘global peacekeeping’ force, he has in recent years already overseen NATO’s involvement in several conflicts outside of Europe. Most notably, its involvement with the US in Afghanistan where it continues to kill innocent people, and is continuously asked to leave by many distraught and outraged Afghans.

‘With the combined military budgets of member states comprising 70 percent of what the world spends on defense, this ‘new’ NATO is riding high with a renewed sense of purpose.’

It has also become involved in patrolling the waters off the coast of Somalia to protect foreign vessels from being seajacked by so-called Somali pirates. This campaign has resulted in an avalanche of deaths of Somalis, passengers and crew members of seajacked ships. Keeping in mind, when Somalis started boarding these ships which had illegally begun fishing in their waters seventeen years ago, not one hostage taken by them had ever been killed. All that changed with the Obama administration coming to power in 2009 (the year NATO, with mostly US naval ships, started patrolling the Somalia coast).

In April of that year, President Obama gave the first orders for snipers to kill Somalis who had boarded the American-flagged ship The Maersk Alabama demanding ransom. France would soon follow with the killing of eight Somalis in another seajacking incident.

Now with the U.S. and France, with NATO support, seemingly engaged in a full-scale war against the Somali nationalist group Al-Shabaab, we can only expect the number of dead Somalis to increase even more. This U.S. war in Somalia is also being augmented by troops from Kenya, Uganda and Burundi, with Ugandan and Burundian involvement, ironically, coming under the auspices of an African Union peacekeeping mission. A new U.S. drone base for this war has just been established in Ethiopia as well. The imperialist powers are obviously up to their old tricks of using treacherous Africans to help in doing their ’dirty work.’

Immediately following the murder of Muammar Gaddafi, Chris Coons, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on African affairs, was reported as saying ‘Muammar Gadhafi’s death and the promise of a new Libyan regime are arguments for the measured U.S. military response in central Africa…’ Encouraged by the results in Libya, the U.S. has recently sent roughly 100 troops to Uganda to track down members of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA). U.S. troops are also being sent to the Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

‘This U.S. war in Somalia is also being augmented by troops from Kenya, Uganda and Burundi.’

It is obvious Senator Coons made this remark with AFRICOM in mind. This newly-created U.S. military command for Africa, conceived by the Heritage Foundation during the Bush administration, could not have come at a more opportune time for the imperialistic-thinking NATO countries. Working in conjunction with AFRICOM during the Libya campaign, and gloating over it’s alleged success, NATO now sees itself as indispensable in this new war to ’save humanity.’ The cooperation between these two military packs represents a perilous development for Africa. With the Obama administration acknowledging the Libya campaign as AFRICOM’s ’first’ undertaking, Africans no longer have to guess what the rest of AFRICOM’s endeavors on the Continent will look like.

Like their 19th century predecessors in their mission to take on the ’burden’ of spreading the benefits of European ‘enlightenment’, this new generation of marauders from the ’North’ are poised to, once again, impose on Africa the coldness of death, destruction and displacement which so characterized their earlier campaigns of human upliftment on the Continent.

Having failed to effectively respond to NATO’s and AFRICOM’s assault on Libya, Africa must at some point show that it has learned the lessons of the past, and resolve itself to remove this ’white man’s burden,’ once and for all.

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Russia Should Prevent Military Strikes On Iran: Leading Parliamentarian

http://rt.com/politics/nuclear-military-iran-russia-011/

RT
November 10, 2011

‘Russia can prevent military operation against Iran’

Russia should do its best to prevent a military operation in Iran, believes head of the Russian parliamentary Committee for International Affairs, Konstantin Kosachev.

‘A military operation against Iran could have grave consequences,’ he told journalists on Thursday. ‘And Russia should make every effort to control emotions, bring negotiations back into the field of political and expert discussion, and not allow any such action against Iran’.

He stressed that he sees this as Russia’s responsibility, and that Moscow has all the means to tackle this task.

The politician also said that he is ‘surprised’ by the fact that in its latest report, the IAEA does not cite any new evidence that Tehran has been ‘developing nuclear weapons’.

On Tuesday, the nuclear watchdog released a report in which it accused Iran of conducting activities related to developing nuclear weapons before 2003. The authors of the document presume these activities ‘may still be ongoing’.
Kosachev believes the report is inconsistent.

‘What is even more surprising,’ he adds, ‘is that the document deals with the situation before 2003, while accusations are being brought against modern Iran and today’s leadership.’

So for now, it is best not to jump to conclusions before there is an expert opinion on the IAEA report, the official is convinced.

‘It is premature to say that Iran is violating its non-proliferation obligations and, consequently, deserves economic sanctions or a military operation based on this report only,’ Konstantin Kosachev stressed.

Over the recent weeks the US, France and Israel have stated that force can be used against Iran, and that it is time to do so. On November 6, Israeli president Shimon Peres said that an attack on Tehran is becoming ‘more and more likely’.

In the opinion of Konstantin Kosachev, this military rhetoric makes the talks on Iran’s nuclear program useless, as settlement of the problem is only possible ‘through political dialogue’.

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U.S. To Replicate NATO, NATO Missile Shield In Asia-Pacific

http://www.defpro.com/news/details/29717/?SID=736ffc3242991a7b859fe6696bf99edc

Defence Professionals
November 10, 2011

Expanding U.S. Arms Sales To Asia Will Help Contain China 
Daniel Goure, Ph.D.
Early Warning Blog, Lexington Institute

-In addition to the Australian role in the co-development programs, the F-35 is a candidate to replace Japan’s aging F-4 fighter fleet and to be South Korea’s next fighter. The Obama Administration has indicated strongly that it would be willing to sell the F-35 to India. Since the administration chose not to allow Taiwan to acquire new F-16 C/D aircraft but only to upgrade older F-16 variants sometime down the road the F-35 could find its way into that country’s arsenal too. Imagine the power of an air defense ‘alliance’ stretching from Korea to Australia and thence to India.
The integration of European national air and missile defense capabilities under the Phased Adaptive Architecture could also see a parallel program in Asia. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan all deploy the U.S. land-based Patriot air and missile defense system. Japan also has the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System and is co-developing an advanced version of the Standard Missile, the SM-3 Block IIA. The Aegis ashore system could be deployed to U.S. allies in Asia.

When it is not focused on the repetitive crisis in the European Union, Washington’s attention, including that of the Pentagon, is increasingly focused on Asia, in general, and China, in particular…Strategy discussions at the Pentagon have been moving slowly towards a greater focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

U.S. arms sales and technology investments with the region will be an important factor in ensuring a balance of powers in the region [sic]…With arms sales comes training, cooperative development of tactics, exchanges of military personnel and often improved industrial and technical cooperation. When several nations in a region possess the same systems it is relatively easy to network them together along with deployed U.S. forces to create a capability more effective than the sum of its parts. This is the central guiding principle behind the European Phased Adaptive Architecture missile defense concept that seeks to network European air and missile defense systems with increasingly capable U.S. sea and land-based missile defenses to be deployed to the European region over the next eight years.

Over the fifty odd years of the Cold War, the United States through the NATO alliance forged an integrated military capability…Many of the principles that enabled NATO to be so effective can be replicated in the Asia-Pacific region without having to create a single continent-spanning security system. Much can be done to achieve a practical and militarily effective bulwark against potential Chinese aggression through a combination of smart arms sales and the integration of allied and U.S. capabilities.

The international co-development program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is an example of how international arms sales can reduce the costs to individual countries of modernizing military forces, leverage national defense industrial investments and also weld together a multi-national military capability. The partner countries – the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Australia and Turkey – have formally joined the U.S. and contributed money toward the program. All but one of these countries is in NATO. When deployed by these nations, the F-35 will provide the United States and its allies with an unparalleled and highly integrated defense capability.

The U.S. effort to provide the F-35 to close allies in Asia can have a similar beneficial effect. In addition to the Australian role in the co-development programs, the F-35 is a candidate to replace Japan’s aging F-4 fighter fleet and to be South Korea’s next fighter. The Obama Administration has indicated strongly that it would be willing to sell the F-35 to India. Since the administration chose not to allow Taiwan to acquire new F-16 C/D aircraft but only to upgrade older F-16 variants sometime down the road the F-35 could find its way into that country’s arsenal too. Imagine the power of an air defense ‘alliance’ stretching from Korea to Australia and thence to India.

The integration of European national air and missile defense capabilities under the Phased Adaptive Architecture could also see a parallel program in Asia. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan all deploy the U.S. land-based Patriot air and missile defense system. Japan also has the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System and is co-developing an advanced version of the Standard Missile, the SM-3 Block IIA. The Aegis ashore system could be deployed to U.S. allies in Asia.

India has become a major purchaser of other U.S. military hardware, including the C-17, C-130J, P-8 maritime patrol plane and most recently the AH-64D Apache. Future collaboration could include missile defense, ASW and airborne surveillance.

The current situation vis-à-vis China does not warrant standing up a new, formal defensive alliance. Much is being done bilaterally. But one of the best forms of strategic dissuasion should Beijing ever contemplate aggression is a network of common military capabilities that stretches across the Asia-Pacific region.

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Lithuania: NATO Gathers Over 200 Energy Experts To Support Global Military Missions

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-A5E0127D-1A543EDB/natolive/news_80592.htm

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
November 10, 2011

NATO boosts energy solutions for the military

More than 200 energy experts from NATO, partner countries and the private sector gathered on 10 November 2011 in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius to discuss technologies for making the military less dependent on fossil fuel.

The conference ‘Innovative Energy Solutions for Military Applications’ focussed on measures to increase the effectiveness and improve the security of future military missions, while reducing the military’s carbon footprint.

‘Slowly but surely, new technologies will allow us to change the way we plan our missions, procure equipment, and conduct campaigns. Solar power and microgrids for bases, better insulation for mobile camps, fuel cells to power the equipment of individual soldiers, biofuels for military vehicles – the possibilities are endless’, Ambassador Gábor Iklódy, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges said.

‘We are not investing in energy saving and environmentally friendly technologies because they are ‘politically correct’. We are investing in them because they make sense: they are the key to success in our military missions.‘

The event was organised by NATO, the Lithuanian Energy Security Centre and the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Afghan War: NATO Rotates Georgian Cannon Fodder

http://www.mod.gov.ge/index.php?page=77&lang=1&type=1&Id=1190

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
November 10, 2011

Georgian Peacekeeping Mission

The advanced unit of the 33rd Battalion (composed of 119 military service members) of the Georgian Armed Forces returned from Afghanistan. Georgian Defence Minister Bacho Akhalaia met Georgian peacekeepers at the airport. 

The 33rd Battalion have been engaged in the international security operation ongoing under the aegis of NATO for six months. In two weeks the 33rd Battalion is being replaced by the 31st Infantry Battalion. The 31st Battalion is participating in the NATO-led ISAF operation for the second time.

The Georgian servicemen of the 33rd Battalion had been participating in the ISAF operation as part of the US peacekeeping contingent. They have been deployed in the province of Helmand since April and have been carrying out defence and security operations side by side with NATO member and partner countries` military units.

—————————————————————————-

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24125

Civil Georgia
November 10, 2011

Georgia Reaffirms Plans to Boost Troops in Afghanistan

Tbilisi: Georgian Defense Minister, Bacho Akhalaia, reiterated on November 10 that Georgia would send one more battalion to Afghanistan next year on top of 950 Georgian soldiers already serving in the NATO-led operation, most of them in Helmand province.

The move will make Georgia the largest non-NATO contributor to ISAF.

‘In parallel to participating in the NATO-led operations, we have to operate in a very difficult security environment, which requires from us a two-pronged effort on the one hand directed towards continuation of recovery from damages caused by the August war and on the other hand towards further transformation of our military,’ Akhalaia said.

He was speaking in the presence of visiting NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at a welcoming ceremony for the return of a Georgian unit from Afghanistan held at the Vaziani military base outside Tbilisi.

Tenth Georgia Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

‘Your duties in the Helmand province were particularly demanding,’ Rasmussen told soldiers from the 33rd light infantry battalion and praised Georgia for helping NATO in its operations in Afghanistan and paid tribute to those Georgian soldiers who have died there.

‘Your service in Afghanistan is also vitally important in another way. It makes the personnel of the Georgian armed forces better prepared to work alongside their colleagues from NATO in other missions too,’ Rasmussen said.

‘This is the key part in your country’s preparation for NATO membership. So you not only have helped Afghanistan to stand on its own feet, you have also helped Georgia move closer to Alliance membership,’ he added.

A July, 2011 [there was a] report from NATO’s web TV channel about Georgian troops serving in Musa Qala in north of the Helmand province.

====

Rasmussen Hails Georgian Outpost, Vows NATO’s Door Is Open

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=43732&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
November 10, 2011

NATO Secretary General meets students at TSU

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visited Tbilisi State University and delivered a speech before the students of the TSU. The Secretary General reviewed the history of Georgia, hailed recent reforms on the way towards the NATO integration and reiterated that the door of the alliance remained open for the country.

`During the last 20 years you have worked hard to build a sovereign nation based on freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect of human rights. Georgia has expressed [its plans] for membership in NATO and NATO has reiterated that its door remains open,` Rasmussen announced.

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NATO Chieftain Visits Georgian Military Base, Inspects Afghan War Troops

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=43733&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
November 10, 2011

NATO Secretary General visited Vaziani military base

The NATO Secretary General went to the Vaziani military base and welcomed the 33rd battalion of the Georgian armed forces which have returned from their Afghanistan mission.

Rasmussen thanked the Georgian government and Georgian soldiers for their effective commitment to the ISAF mission.

`I am very honored to have an opportunity to say a few words at this ceremony to welcome back from Afghanistan the brave soldiers of the 33rd light infantry battalion. For many years Georgia has been a major contributor to our common efforts…you the members of the 33rd battalion have done a great job. The Georgian government has announced its intention to make a further contribution to our common engagement…

‘It makes the personnel of the Georgian armed forces better prepare to work alongside their colleagues from NATO in other missions too. So you have not only helped Afghanistan to stand on its own feet, you have also helped Georgia move close to Alliance membership.

‘Let me thank the soldiers of the 33rd light infantry battalion once again for your outstanding personal contribution to the progress of our common endeavor in Afghanistan and let me close by paying tribute to the Georgian soldiers who have paid the highest price for that endeavor…,` the Secretary General announced.

The advanced unit of the 33rd Battalion (composed of 119 military servicemen) of the Georgian Armed Forces returned from Afghanistan. The 33rd Battalion have been engaged in the international security operation ongoing under the aegis of NATO for three months. In two weeks the 33rd Battalion is being replaced by the 31st Infantry Battalion. The 31st Battalion is participating in the NATO-led ISAF operation for the second time.

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North Atlantic Council: Georgia Will Be Member Of NATO

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=43736&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
November 10, 2011

NATO`s North Atlantic Council holds meeting in Batumi

The NATO delegation is visiting the Black Sea town of Batumi in Georgia. The North Atlantic Council of NATO headed by Anders Fogh Rasmussen has met with the Georgian president in the town.

The meeting was opened with the NATO Secretary General`s address. Rasmussen reiterated the alliance`s commitment to the decision made at the Bucharest summit in 2008 and expressed support to Georgia`s territorial integrity.

‘This is the first time that NATO’s North Atlantic Council has met in Batumi. And on behalf of the Council, I would like to thank you, Mister President, for the warm and gracious hospitality that has been shown to us during our visit.

‘NATO Heads of State and Government agreed at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Georgia will be a member of NATO. I was among the NATO leaders who took that decision three years ago. And I can reassure you that decision stands firm.

‘What also stands firm is NATO’s strong support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders. We do not, and will not, recognise the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia as independent states.

‘Our visit to Georgia is a clear demonstration of our commitment to Georgia. And of your country’s importance to NATO. We will continue to support you on your path to joining the Alliance.

‘You have already achieved a great deal. And we now look forward to you completing the necessary reforms. Because every day of progress will bring Georgia closer to NATO.’

President Saakashvili also addressed the NATO`s North Atlantic Council. He said Georgia has never been so close to NATO than it is now.

Saakashvili said the fact that during the last three years the NATO`s North Atlantic Council is taking place in Georgia for the second time clearly demonstrates deepening of relations between the country and the alliance.

‘After August 2008, in a September meeting of the North Atlantic Council was held in Tbilisi that was a very big symbolic demonstration of European Atlantic solidarity towards the Georgian nation. After three years, the North Atlantic Council has arrived in Tbilisi for the second time. Besides, I received today an invitation from the secretary general to travel to Brussels within the nearest future and attend a North Atlantic Council meeting there. This kind of intensive relations are unprecedented and of course makes us very happy.’

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Saakashvili To Rasmussen: Bring Me A NATO Jacket

http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24128

Civil Georgia
November 10, 2011

Saakashvili, Rasmussen Hail NATO-Georgia Ties

-‘I want to say that during our multi-century history we have never been so close to our European home, Euro-Atlantic space, our century-old dream, Georgian people’s centurys-old aspiration.
‘A few years ago it would be hard to speak or even dream about such a level of cooperation and such closeness between Georgia and NATO.’
-‘Developments taking place in recent years, when right after August 2008 [war] a session of the North Atlantic Council was held in Tbilisi in September in huge symbolic demonstration of Euro-Atlantic solidarity towards the Georgian nation, as well as this visit which is the second one [by the NAC]…

Tbilisi: Georgia will be addressed at the summit of NATO leaders in Chicago in the spring, but how it will be done has yet to be defined, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a joint news conference with President Saakashvili in Batumi on November 10.

‘We have discussed the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago,’ he said. ‘We have not finalized preparations, there are still six months to go, many things can happen; we have not finalized the programme so no decision has been made.

‘As usual NATO allies will address Georgia at the [Chicago] summit; the question is how and we have discussed this today; we will continue our dialogue in the run-up to the summit in Chicago. I hope to see language, texts from the Chicago summit that reflect the progress we have seen in reforms in Georgia, the progress we have seen in our relationship since we last met in Lisbon a year ago,’ Rasmussen said.

The Georgian leadership hopes the NATO summit in Chicago in May, 2012 will mark a significant step forward for Georgia in its drive to join the alliance.

During the press conference Saakashvili jokingly complained before the NATO Secretary General that he could at least have brought a NATO jacket if not an umbrella. Showing a tie he was wearing, Saakashvili told Rasmussen that the previous NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, brought that NATO tie to him when he visited Georgia. 

‘I was hoping you would bring me at least a NATO jacket so that we would not stay out in the cold without a NATO jacket; we are not [yet] asking for a NATO umbrella though, but jacket would do this time,’ Saakashvili told Rasmussen.

Saakashvili thanked the NATO Secretary General for the support and said: ‘We’ve heard NATO’s praise for our reforms, but we also know that we have to do homework and proceed with further changes.’

With the press conference the NATO Secretary General and ambassadors from the member states in the North Atlantic Council concluded their two-day visit during which the delegation reaffirmed the Alliance’s support to Georgia’s territorial integrity, [its] open-door policy, reiterated that no third country had a veto over the NATO enlargement, praised Georgia’s reforms and said that the country was now closer to the Alliance than three years ago [after the war with Russia in August of 2008]…

After spending the first day of the visit in Tbilisi, the delegation met with President Saakashvili in the Black Sea town of Batumi on November 10.

During his opening remarks at the meeting with the NATO ambassadors, Saakashvili said that Georgia’s path to join NATO was not an easy one, but no one would ever be able to derail Georgia from this road.

‘I want to say that during our multi-century history we have never been so close to our European home, Euro-Atlantic space, our century-old dream, Georgian people’s centuries-old aspiration,’ he said.

‘A few years ago it would be hard to speak or even dream about such a level of cooperation and such closeness between Georgia and NATO.’

‘Developments taking place in recent years, when right after August 2008 [war] a session of the North Atlantic Council was held in Tbilisi in September in huge symbolic demonstration of Euro-Atlantic solidarity towards the Georgian nation, as well as this visit which is the second one [by the NAC], and today I received an invitation from the Secretary General to visit Brussels in the near future and to attend the session of the North Atlantic Council again. Briefly speaking, the relationship of such intensity is unprecedented and of course, we are very glad about it,’ Saakashvili said.

‘Integration into NATO as well as into the European Union is a fundamental choice of the Georgian nation,’ he said…

‘As a result of eight years of radical transformation, we are now closer to the Alliance as never before,’ Saakashvili said.

‘We are proud of our soldiers, who exactly know what they are fighting for in Afghanistan. This is also a historical instinct of our nation that we are there.’

‘I hope that our reforms, our readiness to defend peace and stability, our efforts to undertake more than necessary has turned Georgia into one of the major partners of NATO. Of course, the journey is not yet over. I know that this is not an easy road, but no one will be able to reverse our advance; I repeat – no one will be able to reverse it,’ Saakashvili said.

In his opening remarks the NATO Secretary General said the visit to Georgia was a good opportunity to see the progress the country made and to also lay out further work that was still required ‘in areas such as electoral reform, strengthening of rule of law, deepening reforms regarding the judiciary and the media and greater involvement of the civil society.’

‘You have already achieved a great deal and we now look forward to you completing the necessary reforms because every day of progress will bring Georgia closer to NATO,’ Rasmussen said.

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NATO Caucasus, Central Asia Representative Praises Georgia’s Integration, Pledges Membership

http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.php?id_news=43726&pg=1&im=main&ct=0&wth=

Rustavi 2
November 10, 2011

Appathurai comments on Rasmussen`s visit

NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai says the visit of the NATO Secretary General to Georgia reaffirms commitment of the alliance to the terms of the Bucharest Summit Decision, which said that Georgia would become the a member of the alliance.

The heads of foreign diplomatic missions in Georgia have also commented on the visit after a special reception held at the Rustaveli Theatre on Wednesday.

They said the cooperation between Georgia and the Alliance was moving to an absolutely new phase, hailing the political course of the Georgian government. The ambassadors said the fact that a NATO Council session was held in Georgia was a very significant fact for the country in the process of integration into the organization.

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Posted 11th November 2011 by InI in category NATO

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