NATO Day – From Wales to Warsaw The first day of Georgia Defence and Security Conference was dedicated to NATO. The Warm-Up Plenary - From Wales to Warsaw was moderated by Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of the Atlantic Council US. The panel speakers were: Minister of Defence of Georgia Tinatin Khidasheli, Deputy Assistant Secretary General of NATO James Appathurai, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense of the United States, Michael Carpenter, Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland Marek Ziólkowski and Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Sir Adrian Bradshaw. The panelists talked about Georgia’s NATO integration prospects, expectations of Warsaw Summit and regional security issues. “Georgia should be proud of the achieved results and steps made towards the membership of the Alliance. After the conference the defence capabilities of Georgia, security of the country and bilateral cooperation with the partner countries will be increased,” –Tinatin Khidasheli said. She stressed the importance of more active measures to be taken before the Warsaw Summit and talked about the necessity of more defence capabilities for Georgia. As Defence Minister said, Georgia is undertaking its commitments and is making its contribution to global security and is a staunch partner of NATO and EU. In terms of interoperability with NATO Tinatin Khidasheli talked about the work of the NATO Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC). “We say that we want more Georgia in NATO but we need more efforts and commitment to keep the promises given to Georgia. United NATO would be the best answer towards deterrence policy and all existing challenges,”- Tinatin Khidasheli said. “I think the most important thing that happening at Warsaw for Georgia is the Alliance to adopt the best strategy to deter Russian. You see the Alliance is moving some of its forces to the East and I think to send a very clear signal to Russia to hands off, don’t mess with European security again. So in the wake of Crimea, I think the Alliance will affect here in Georgia. As the Prime Minister predicted - More NATO in Georgia, more Georgia in NATO. I think it will be a clear signal that the Alliance is producing a policy to deter potential Russian aggression,” – Damon Wilson said. James Appathurai focused on the regional security challenges. As he stated, the North Atlantic Alliance is trying to strengthen the region with the exercises and exchange of information. According to Deputy Assistant Secretary General of NATO, Georgia is one of the desirable places in the Caucasus region. “First where we started in Wales was to put in place a very strong package to enhance support for Georgia from NATO, more NATO in Georgia and the first thing is to implement what we decided. There are more NATO advisors here than ever, we have opened the first Joint training centre and actually first training is taking place, we are also working on opening the defence institution, there is so much going on , more Georgia and NATO and I can tell you in Warsaw. There will be more representation in different meetings by Georgia than any other non-NATO country, the head of state government level, four minister level, two meetings including NATO-Georgia Commission and the defence ministers meeting with other defence ministers for interoperability, so there will be more Georgia in the Summit than any other partner countries. Finally what we do afterwards is more substance, new ideas, so we have put on the table the military and political side looking at them now so you will see new initiatives coming out of Warsaw even if we have not yet taken any decisions, new ideas. It is not a secret, everybody sees increasing defence, spending by Russia, more exercises on our borders, more military facilities being opened by Russia, exercises that threaten us, I mean allies and partners, so we are all very well aware, watching carefully so, I don’t think it is a question necessarily, substantial new focus on Russia. We are increasing our focus on Russia all the time because they are forcing us to do that because what are aggressive or potentially aggressive actions. But we do need to talk together and one area that is of great interest to all of us is Black Sea region. Georgia has already participated more than once in NATO confidential discussions on what the security situation is, how is changing because of Crimea and particularly when Russia equipment has been moved in Crimea and we are looking how we can deepen our information exchange, see how we can insure what we can do together, so Georgia is already the part of the discussion when it comes to the Black Sea Region and participating in wider discussions,” he said. General Sir Adrian Bradshaw talked about the strategic security challenges to NATO and stability and security of the region. As he said, the challenges in the region should be coped strategically, including the political, diplomatic and economic aspects. According to Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland Marek Ziólkowski Georgia is a brilliant partner in international missions and their contributions should be appreciated. He added that Substantial NATO-Georgia Package is a very good tool to strengthen cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance.