President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Hugh Bayley is holding talks with the Georgian leadership in Tbilisi on July 25.
Hugh Bayley, a British parliamentarian, who arrived in Tbilisi after visiting Moldova, met Georgian parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili and other lawmakers; PM Irakli Garibashvili, as well as civil society representatives; he will also meet President Giorgi Margvelashvili.
In late May in its non-binding declaration, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly called on the Alliance member states “to consider” moving Georgia closer to NATO at its summit in Wales in September by granting it a Membership Action Plan (MAP). But at a meeting in June NATO foreign ministers decided that there will be no MAP for Georgia on the agenda of the upcoming NATO summit and instead agreed to offer Georgia a “substantive" package to help the country move further closer to the Alliance.
“NATO foreign ministers have proposed a process to enhance the relationship and cooperation between your country, Georgia and NATO. These must not just be words. It must be a program of practical cooperation, which enhances Georgia’s security and takes you further major steps along the path to membership of NATO. We as the Parliamentary Assembly stand with you in that ambition,” said President of the Parliamentary Assembly, which unites lawmakers from the Alliance member states and associate delegates from the NATO partner countries.
He also said that Georgia “is the most important partner that NATO has”.
“You contribute more than any other partner to NATO’s peacekeeping operations in other parts of the world. I warmly welcome your EU Association Agreement. This is an important step forward in Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic ambitions,” Bayley said.
Georgian parliament speaker, Davit Usupashvili, said after the meeting that there is a “mutual understanding” that the NATO summit in Wales should produce “significant decisions, which will strengthen Georgia’s security and which will strengthen NATO’s positions of guardian of peace and stability in this region and beyond.”
“These decisions should represent a clear message for everyone that this process will continue,” Usupashvili added.