Georgia Defence and Security Conference officially opened at the hotel Hilton in Batumi. The President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze and Minister of Defence of Georgia Levan Izoria addressed participants of the international event.

The President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili spoke about Russian aggression and Georgia's NATO integration perspective. He thanked the Minister of Defence for successful reforms implemented in the ministry. “Georgia-NATO cooperation develops with truly a high quality and intensity. It involves exercise programs, political dialogue as well as the cooperation formats that are being established between Georgia and NATO member and our partner countries. Significant part of this process is the heroism by our male and female military personnel on the battlefield. This is an important part of the firm basis, on which Georgia deepens its Euro-Atlantic integration”. – said Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze highlighted the importance of the conference and emphasized on the reforms implemented in the field of defence: “Few days ago I received a letter from the US Secretary of Defense, General Mattis, who thanked us for the reforms in the field of defence. The letter underlines the efforts of our government in the readiness and modernization of the Georgian Armed Forces, in which the biggest contribution belongs to the Ministry of Defence of Georgia. I would like to thank once again our colleagues at the Ministry of Defence and personally, the Minister for the important progress and the fundamental reforms that we were able to implement in this agency. This letter is another proof of our success in this field. Therefore, I would like to use the words that are in this letter: “Georgia has proved to be NATO’s most faithful and trusted partner.”

The Minister of Defence of Georgia Levan Izoria spoke about the significance of the conference and discussed security challenges. Minister Izoria also referred to the number of new initiatives, including the arrival of the U.S. ‘Cobra” company to Georgia based on a rotational principle. “We have implemented important initiatives and reforms in this direction and today we move to a historical stage”. – said Minister.

Georgia Defence and Security Conference is hosting decision-maker officials, international experts and civil society representatives who share their thoughts and opinions in the format of interactive plenary sessions and open discussions about the important challenges facing the international order. 

The conference consists of five interactive sessions. The first panel - Nations under Pressure – Deflecting the Threat is guided by the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. The second session will involve discussions on the modern Complexities of the Total Defence. The third session, hosted by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), will cover discussions on the changing security environment in Euro-Atlantic area. The theme of the fourth panel will be NATO’s “open door policy”, guided by the Jamestown Foundation. The fifth panel of the conference - Black Sea Geopolitics – Facts, Interests, Prospects will be held in partnership with the Munich Security Conference.

For the last 12 years Georgia Defence and Security Conference has become a unique forum to discuss the challenges against Euro-Atlantic security and regional stability. The conference will be attended by up to 300 participants, including high-ranking Georgian and foreign politicians, defence and security experts, representatives of civil society, media and academic circles.

The partners of the conference are: The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI); Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement; The Jamestown Foundation and the Munich Security Conference. The event is sponsored by IDENO, THALES and ZEN Technologies.