NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General James Appathurai expects “the NATO governments re-confirm at the Madrid Summit that NATO’s door is open and open to Georgia,” pledging that “we also have very concrete ideas in place to do more to help Georgia secure itself.”
During the recent press point, following his meeting in the Parliament, Appathurai said:” The NATO governments will also want to see continued reform and they also like to see a less polarized political environment here, to see government and opposition work together, to see decisions taken across the political divide; it is quite a polarized political environment here, and allied governments are looking at that quite carefully.”
Appathurai continued: “When it comes to what Georgia should do [regarding open-door policy], I would just say this, it is quite clear for the NATO governments, as far as I can see, that the vast majority of the Georgian population supports the NATO membership, that this is something broadly felt in the political system as well and I am gratified to hear that in the Parliament, that this is a cross-spectrum political position, its a Constitutional decision, so as long as that’s the case, I think it is quite clear.”
Asked about international sanctions and Georgia’s moves, NATO’s Appathurai stated: “Georgia is in a very complicated geographic and security position. It is also the case that NATO governments want to see all countries, likeminded or not, but certainly, likeminded countries do the absolute maximum to support Ukraine and to put pressure on Russia to stop this war.”
“I am here very much in line with the decision by the NATO governments that we need to do more to support Georgia, and other partners in Europe in this very difficult environment. Russia’s war on Ukraine has fundamentally changed the security map in Europe, and it has changed it in the long term. That is the decision the NATO countries have already taken for the alliance.
We are doing our best to support Ukraine, we are doing our best to put pressure on Russia to stop this war. We are doing our best to isolate Russia diplomatically, again to put pressure to stop this war but also they have decided that we should do more to support our closest partners including Georgia, and That is why I am here, very much in the areas of cybersecurity, of hybrid security, to discuss energy security.
Cyber attacks have been part of Russia’s attack on Ukraine before military hostility started and throughout military hostilities. So, it is crucial that Georgia like every NATO country, has to beef up cybersecurity and we want to work with Georgia to do that, we have ideas on how to do that. When it comes to hybrid, that’s the coordinated attack with this information, the energy cut offs, etc. We also have ideas which I will discuss in detail with the specialists.
When it comes to the energy security, Georgia’s role when it comes to energy supply to Europe, only become more important as European countries have cut off energy supplies for Russia. So, I think it is very important that we discussed here how Georgia better secure its energy infrastructure against cyberattack, against physical attack, so we are doing some concrete cooperation on that coming up this year,” NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General stated.