American fellows visit Georgia to participate in Defence and Security Conference. Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli held bilateral meetings with Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council and Director, Centre for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, Dr. Ariel Cohen and Margaret Thatcher Fellow; The Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation Luke Coffey.

Cooperation formats and abilities up to upcoming NATO Summit in Warsaw were the main issues of discussion at the meetings. Tinatin Khidasheli familiarized the fellows on the reforms achieved and presented the view of the Georgian government on Georgia’s prospects at upcoming NATO Summit in Warsaw. The guests were interested in the implementation process of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package initiatives and outlined that the implementation of SNGP will accelerate Georgia’s NATO integration.

Defence Minister evaluated the meetings with the American fellows. “Ariel Cohen and Luke Coffey are close friends of Georgia for many years. Over the years they defend the interests of our country in Washington and still stand on our side in the background of all the challenges Georgia faces to. Therefore, close friendship with these fellows,  as interest defenders of Georgia in our strategic partner country is very important. At the meeting we referred to the cooperation formats in this period of time – up to Warsaw Summit next year and received recommendations. We also spoke about the opportunities we can use within the bilateral cooperation in order Georgia’s issues to be run very actively in Washington.”

Dr. Ariel Cohen highlighted the importance of organizing Defence and Security Conference in Georgia due to existing challenges on international arena and evaluated Georgian efence Minister’s activities towards Georgia’s NATO integration process positively: “First of all, I would like to congratulate Georgia and the Minister that Georgia is continuing the tradition of having a major security conference. I think it’s very important for Georgia to have a forum in which international experts and leaders can get together and discuss what’s going on. We are living at the times of very quickly shifting international scenario. We see conflicts in Syria, in the Ukraine, in the Middle East. Georgia is right here between Iran, Turkey, Russia. This is number one. Number two – Georgia needs very close relationship with NATO clearly and needs a clear pathway to NATO.  It is difficult, it is challenging. Georgia has to knock on NATO’s door. But in terms of Georgia’s security, Georgia’s national sovereignty and independence – this is very important. I think Georgia is lucky to have Minister who understands these issues and does perfect job.”     

“We had an opportunity to talk about the path to Warsaw Summit and what Georgia needs to do hope of advance eventually to join NATO. I told her that in the United States there are many people in the policy community, in the think tanks community who support Georgia’s membership into NATO. Personally I’d like to convince people that this is a right path not only for the alliance, not only for the U.S., but also for the Georgian people. So I hope that Georgia and the Georgian people keep their patience and step for this very long journey to eventually join NATO. I am certain some days it’s going to happens“, stated Luke Coffey.

Ariel Cohen and Luke Coffey work on defence and security issues in the South Caucasus and Central Asia. Both fellows know Georgia very well; they have learnt Georgia’s security environment and NATO integration process for a long time.