Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, told the UN Security Council meeting on Iraq on September 19 that Tbilisi is ready to be part of international efforts to confront the Islamic State and will work with partners to determine how Georgia can best contribute.
Panjikidze also used Georgia’s extremely rare appearance at the UN Security Council to condemn Russia’s “military aggression” against Ukraine and “ongoing occupation” of Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The UN Security Council meeting of foreign ministers and representatives from about 35 countries, which was convened and chaired by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, aimed at building support for Iraq’s new government and efforts to confront Islamic State group.
“The European security is being significantly challenged by Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. Georgia has also suffered from Russia’s military aggression in 2008 and ongoing occupation of its two regions,” the Georgian Foreign Minister said. “Worrisome pattern to forcefully alter borders poses significant threats to the strategic vision of Europe whole, free and at peace.”
Panjikidze told the meeting, that Georgia is “deeply shocked and distressed over violent developments and rapid deterioration of security situation in Iraq.”
“We stand ready to provide humanitarian assistance to those who have been affected by brutal actions of terrorist groups. Furthermore, Georgia’s valuable experience from combat missions, as well as successful defense transformation can be effectively used to enhance capabilities of Iraqi and other security forces as they are taking fight against the ISIL [Islamic State] terrorist,” the Georgian Foreign Minister said.
“We look forward to working with the United States and other coalition partners in coming days and weeks to identify areas where Georgia contribution can provide added value,” she said.
Panjikidze also expressed “strong support” to the new government of Iraq and condemned “in the strongest terms all despicable acts of terrorism and violence.”
“ISIL [Islamic State] poses threat not only to the nations in the Middle East, but also in Europe, North America and beyond. It is only with our joint efforts and commitment that we can stop and prevent such violent actions from happening,” the Georgian Foreign Minister said.
“Georgia as a reliable ally and capable partner has been consistent in its efforts to ensure security and stability around the globe,” she said and noted Georgia’s past contribution in Iraq, when about 2,000 Georgian troops were stationed in the country up until August 2008, and Georgia’s ongoing contribution to ISAF operation in Afghanistan and EU mission in Central African Republic.
“Our commitment to the global peace and stability is firm. Georgia fully supports efforts of the coalition to defeat ISIL and to bring peace in the region,” she said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was presiding over the meeting, thanked Georgia for “everything you are doing notwithstanding other challenges that we know you face.”