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Estonia Supports Georgia’s Efforts to Achieve NATO Membership

01.03.2012

No. 51-E

Meeting with Georgian Foreign Minister Gregory Vashadze in Tallinn today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet noted that Estonia supports Georgia’s efforts to achieve NATO membership in accordance with the decision made at the Bucharest summit. “It is essential that Georgia continues developing and strengthening democracy, since accession to the alliance depends on Georgia’s homework and the implementation of reforms,” Paet said.

According to Foreign Minister Paet, Estonia expects the alliance to issue a clear message on advancing relations with Georgia from the springtime NATO summit in Chicago. “We also support a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission taking place in Chicago,” he stated.

In talking about Georgia’s integration with the European Union, Foreign Minister Paet noted that Estonia supports the country’s EU endeavours. “Georgia is one of the success stories of Eastern Partnership, and we encourage the country to continue making reforms,” he stated. The foreign minister added that the visa facilitation and readmission agreement between the European Union and Georgia that came into effect last year functions well. “We must continue working together to achieve a visa waiver between the European Union and Georgia,” said Paet. It is also important that the negotiations process for a Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Georgia will go smoothly.

At the meeting, Foreign Minister Paet also mentioned that by holding free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections, Georgia has a good opportunity to positively influence its further integration into the European Union and co-operation with NATO.

While speaking about Estonia-Georgia bilateral relations, Paet said that we have been active supporters of Georgia and the country can continue to count on us. We are also prepared to help Georgia carry out reforms within the framework of development co-operation. “For example, the Estonian Centre of Eastern Partnership has become a successful project through which we have actively shared our experiences. There is a plan to organise a training seminar in Tbilisi in June 2012,” Paet said. The foreign minister added that these kinds of joint efforts can only be successful if the necessary reforms and strengthening of civil society continue in Georgia.

The Estonian foreign minister confirmed to his Georgian colleague that Estonia is a firm supporter of Georgia’s territorial integrity and non-recognition policy. “We support the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) continuing its work there with the same number of staff. We also support the restoration of the OSCE mission in the occupied territories, as well as the continuation of the Geneva talks,” Paet said.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry

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