Possibility to buy defensive armament and NATO-membership are among those key factors that can provide Georgia’s security, Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said on March 2.
Remarks were made when he was commenting on possible sale of French Mistral-class helicopter carrier amphibious assault warships to Russia. The Georgian officials have expressed concerns about the possible deal for number of times and Georgian deputy foreign minister, Nino Kalandadze, said Paris was aware of Georgia’s concerns on the matter.
“I see protection of Georgia’s interests in two issues: first, Georgia should timely be granted NATO membership, because Georgia can not engage in race with Russia in buying Mistrals and other type of weaponry; second, we should have an opportunity to procure defensive armament and I think this issue should be out of question after the Mistral deal; we have the right to protect ourselves and we should be able to buy what we need for that purpose, including from France,” Iakobashvili said.
French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, said at a joint news conference with Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, in Paris on March 1: "How can we say to the Russians, 'We need you to resolve a certain number of problems, notably the Iranian crisis, which is a very important crisis but we don't trust you, we can't work with you on the Mistral ships'?"
“This is a symbol of trust between our countries,” the Russian President said at the same press conference. “I hope that these negotiations [on Mistral deal] will be crowned by success.”