Discussions on the military balance and cooperation in Black Sea region were held at the forum in the Hotel Holiday Inn. Luke Coffey from the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation, Michael Cecire Associate Scholar of Foreign Policy Research Institute, Iulian Chifu former advisor to Romanian President, Richard Giragosian Director of Regional Studies Center Foundation (RSC) Armenia, Sergey Utkin Head of Department of Centre for Situation Analysis (CSA) at Russian Academy of Sciences, Hanna Shelest Editor in Chief of Ukraine Analytica, Tornike Sharashenidze GIPA, Georgia, Kamal Namig og. Makili-Aliyev Leading Research Fellow of Foreign Policy Analysis Department talked over the security challenges in the Blacks Sea countries.
The forum particiapants held debates on the ways and means of strengthening security in the region. Main topic of discussion was Russia`s influence in the Black Sea region and the need of coordinated action for its neutralization. As spokespersons outlined during discussions, Russia is not a powerful state in the region and in the world, though it is very influential. Tornike Sharashenidze confirmed that Azerbaijan-Georgian partnership is significant for the security of the region.
The conflicts in the Black Sea region and the ways of its resolving were one of the key topics of the debates. A special attention was devoted to Russia`s activities in the Black Sea countries and was outlined that the West must increase its presence in the region to insure the force balance.
“I think the 2008 war really demostrated the importance of the Black Sea for Georgia in many respects both in the operational phases of the war as well as in its conclusion. For example, blockading the Georgian ports, the launching of the second front by Russian forces was done in many ways from the Black Sea coastline as well as the fact that US ships were able to come through transit into the Black Sea and take harbour in Georgian ports. I think that played a role at least sending a deterance signal to Russia. It's clear that Black Sea plays a major role in Georgia's security not just in its direct security in terms of Russian aggression but also for cooperation with neibouring states. We are also trying to find the ways for cooperation together, what we are trying together - how these conflicts and crisis in the region can be resolved through platforms of cooperation”, said Michael Cecire.
Luke Coffey pointed out that Georgia plays an important role in the region and the U.S. should incerase its presence in the region and cooperate not only with NATO member states but also with Georgia which implemented significant reforms on its path to NATO membership, as well as with Ukraine which needs assistance in such hard times.