Georgia Defence and Security Conference opened in Batumi
06 November, 2019
Georgia Defence and Security Conference opened in Batumi
Georgia is hosting the 13th Georgia Defence and Security Conference (GDSC) in Batumi on Wednesday.
A number of the Georgian and foreign politicians used the stage to speak about modern challenges Georgia faces.

Georgia is not that distant from what is called the arc of the crisis of the wider region where war, terrorism, internal political turbulences or migrants are challenging security, peace, and development, President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili said in her speech.

President Zurabishvili stressed the importance of the
conference and noted that Georgia has managed to remain an island of stability.

“Georgia has managed to remain an island of stability, and has succeeded not to let its economic and democratic development be adversely affected, but the efforts to achieve this have to be maintained and redoubled to prevent terrorism of encroaching on Georgia’s territory. That means more information exchanges with our partners and more transparency and controls on our borders and on movements over them” - Salome Zurabishvili said.

Salome Zurabishvili also noted that Georgia's main and everyday security concern remains that deriving from the occupied territories, the lack of control over 20% of the whole territory.

The President underlined that this occupation means a constant tension with Russia, endless incidents that could flare up in more dangerous situations that Georgia is constantly trying to prevent.

“This occupation means a constant tension with Russia, endless incidents that could flare up in more dangerous situations that Georgia is constantly trying to prevent, having signed a unilateral declaration of renunciation to the use of force.

But the humanitarian distress of the populations living on both sides of this line could at any time challenge the peace and the peaceful development.
Only during the last week, two humanitarian tragedies unfolded: one woman – Margo Matiashvili - died for not having been allowed to use the crossing point and get treatment, another woman Tamar Gigauri is fighting for her life since she was forcefully transferred to Tskhinvali hospital, and not given the chance to get the medical treatment available only on our side of the occupation line. I want to use this forum and appeal through you to the international community, to the co-chairs of the GID to address urgently this humanitarian tragedy and look for effective solutions.

The lack of adequate response to a situation that is lasting since 2008 is in itself a possible security challenge since the frustration or despair of these populations could give way to incidents or escalation, that is in our common interest to control and prevent. Russia should be convinced of the necessity to adhere to its commitments of 2008 and pursue together with the international community, in Geneva as in other multilateral or bilateral formats, all the roads to a peaceful solution. That is the only way towards lasting security for all in the region.

The answer to Georgia to these challenges is to be found both in its defense policy and in its peaceful economic and political development.

Defense policy for Georgia means getting ever closer to the “open door” of Nato as the ultimate security provider. This integration process is now enshrined in our Constitution, supported by our population and is without alternative. It is a process that is not only promising for the future but also and already allowing Georgian military forces to enhance their defense capabilities“ Salome Zurabishvili said.

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Defence Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili (in the middle) was among the speakers.

“I am convinced that the debates and discussions here will be particularly topical and distinguished by the quality and the results, as we are in a country where 20% of the territory is occupied by the Russian Federation” - he Gharibashvili said.

"Within this conference, we will have an opportunity to discuss the security challenges facing us and openly discuss ways to resolve them," Irakli Gharibashvili said.

The Minister thanked the Ministry of Defense, partner countries and organizations for their active support and efforts. According to Irakli Gharibashvili, over the years the Georgian Defense and Security Conference has become an important platform for discussing current regional and international issues.

"We are living in an era where, along with our growing capabilities, security challenges are growing dynamically and multilaterally, requiring constant attention and responsiveness.

Realizing the significant changes in world dynamics, we are responsible for addressing these challenges and working to deepen our awareness of the changing global environment that includes the political, economic and military spheres.

This year’s Defense and Security Conference will focus on these important issues and the security environment in the Black Sea region. We want to focus particularly on NATO's commitments, strengthening its eastern borders by enhancing its member states' deterrence capability as well as Georgia's role in maintaining regional stability and ensuring international security.

I am convinced that the debates and discussions here will be particularly topical and distinguished by the quality and the results, as we are in a country where 20% of the territory is occupied by the Russian Federation, the process of “borderisation”, destructive actions and attempts to destabilize it continue along the administrative dividing line. This is a geostrategic region that is vital for many countries,” Irakli Gharibashvili said.

He said that Georgia, an important partner of the US, EU, and NATO, is developing, strengthening and focusing on becoming a member of the security community.

“On the path toward the integration with NATO and the European Union, with the support of our strategic partners, Georgia is committed to further strengthen the process of transformation, in order to establish a stronger, more effective defense system, strengthen the operational capabilities and to achieve maximum compatibility with NATO, to protect our country's territorial integrity and maintain our sovereignty ", the Defence Minister said.
Irakli Gharibashvili noted that Georgia’s strength lines in the unity.

“We firmly believe that our strength lies in our unity, both domestically and internationally. Georgia's strength lies in its commitment, consistency, and sustainability. By working together, we will create a more stable and secure environment for future generations,” Irakli Gharibashvili said.

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