Georgia after NATO Warsaw Summit – strengthening relations with Poland is a key element of Georgian diplomacy

Georgia after NATO Warsaw Summit – strengthening relations with Poland is a key element of Georgian diplomacy

The Casimir Pulaski Foundation commemorated the 25th anniversary of Polish-Georgian relations by hosting on May 19th a round-table discussion “Georgia after NATO Warsaw Summit” featuring Chairman of the Georgian Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze. Chairman Kobakhidze was completing his visit to Poland for the Summit of Speakers of the Central and Eastern European Parliaments. The meeting met with high interest among invited guests and experts, as well as politicians such as the Chairwomen of the  Polish-Georgian Parliamentary Group, Małgorzata Gosiewska

This round table was opened by statements from President of the Casimir Pulaski Foundation, Zbigniew Pisarski and Chairman Kobakhidze. In the opening statements both confirmed mutual goals with respect to security, NATO expansion and deterring Russian aggression while at the same time maintaining the friendly state of Polish-Georgian relations. President Pisarski underlined that the title for the meeting “Georgia after Warsaw NATO Summit” is based on a general issue of Georgian continuous efforts to strengthen its relationship with NATO. It corresponds also to the Meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government commencing on May 25th in Brussels. However in the first place it is special because of the nearest NATO Parliamentary Assembly Spring Session which will be hosted by the Parliament of Georgia from 26 to 29 of May. The Session will bring together in Tbilisi some 300 parliamentarians from the 28 NATO member countries from North America and Europe as well as delegates from partner countries and observers to discuss current international security issues and the reports prepared by the Assembly’s Committees.

As pointed by distinguished guest from Tbilisi, currently large part of Georgia’s territory remains controlled by Russia, which is denying access of international monitoring organizations. Russia has undertaken a forced assimilation policy, including halting the instruction of the Georgian language in this territory. Chairman Kobakhidze affirmed that Georgia has re-stabilized following the 2008 war and is committed to moving toward NATO and the EU. He underlined the importance of Poland as Georgia’s main strategic partner in Eastern Europe and that Georgia remains very pleased with the “friendly state of relations.”

The discussion moved toward the contemporary relations with Turkey, which is a strategic partner to Georgia, NATO and Russia all in the same. Concerns relating to Russian obstruction of Georgia’s potential NATO membership once again took center stage. The point was made that in order to obtain NATO membership, a nation-state must be able to ensure total territorial integrity, and that given the current Russian occupation, this is an area of concern. Georgian officials underlined that the West should be mindful, the very reason for the Russian invasion of Georgia was in order to prevent NATO ascension.

An important exchange of views went about the new Presidential administration in USA and current issues. For Georgia United States are main strategic partners and most critical friends of the Georgian state. Despite the questions relating to President Trump and Russia, especially recently Georgia has had no reasons to doubt the commitment the United States has to Georgia.

At the end of the meeting Chairman Kobakhidze made himself clear about difficulties Georgia is facing now at home and abroad. Nevertheless current government is committed to work with all partners to reach its goals. One of the strategic partners is Poland, which should play a role of strongest Georgia’s advocate in NATO. Thus a meeting in Pulaski Foundation just few days before NATO meeting in Brussels was of greatest importance.