The fi rst meeting of Georgian-German Strategic Forum under the title “20 Years of Diplomatic Relationship: Common Values and Interests” took place on May 2-3, 2012, in Tbilisi, Georgia. The representatives of parliament, government and NGO sector of both countries participated in the Forum. A number of presentations were made during four panels, which were followed by very frank and substantial discussions. At the end of the meeting, it was agreed to prepare the joint policy recommendations on the topical issues of bilateral cooperation. Following this agreement, after several months of work, a group of German and Georgian experts, participants to the Forum, have jointly drafted following recommendations:.
Policy Recommendations in the Frame of Georgian-German Strategic Forum aimed at Realization of the Potential of Georgian-German Bilateral Relations
ON BILATERAL SECURITY COOPERATION
Recommendation 1: Georgia and Germany should deepen their defence cooperation and for this purpose it should be institutionalized through regular permanent Bilateral MoD to MoD consultations. Among the fi rst issues to be considered could be: a) enhancement of partnership in international peacekeeping operations, in particular, the inclusion of Georgian military units in German military contingent staying in Afghanistan for training ANA after 2014, as well as the prospects of possible participation in peacekeeping operations conducted under EU or NATO mandate in the future; b) establishment of Georgian-German military training center in Georgia, which will be used by both sides for their own and joint military training; c) increased German engagement in defense planning and broadening the scale of bilateral military cooperation.
Permanent Bilateral MoD to MoD consultations will make it easier to understand the rationales and particularities behind the national defense planning and defense requirements, as well as will provide the opportunity to infl uence each others’ thinking for making a better contribution to European security.
Georgia and Germany have already an excellent experience of joint peacekeeping, which can serve as a good basis for a future cooperation. Such cooperation will be mutually benefi cial as it will increase the ability and readiness of Georgian military units to operate with German contingent in current or future peace support operations under EU or NATO. It will also boost the NATO interoperability and help in implementing the obligations taken by Georgia under NATO-Georgian Commission.
Georgia’s location close to the instable Arab world, to Afghanistan and Central Asia, makes it for German forces an excellent location for their logistic and common training, as well as training with Georgian forces.
Recommendation 2: Creation of a Chair at one of Germany’s leading Universities dealing with the issues of Security Policy of Georgia and the Caucasus with visiting fellow positions, and similarly creation of a Chair at one of Georgian leading Universities dealing with the issues of Security Policy of Germany and the EU with visiting fellow positions. Furthermore, there should be regularly call for proposals for visiting fellows at the Georgian and the German university for research on EU-security and defense policy and security questions in the wider Caucasus region.
Experience shows that there is a serious need in each country to further develop independent expertise on the other in academic institutions focusing on security policy issues. Governments and policy makers would also certainly benefi t from this initiative. Especially in the German academic society there is a decreasing expertise on the South Caucasus and security issues in the whole wider Caucasus region.
The regular exchange of Georgian and German young fellows on security issues would enhance the mutual understanding and would be an excellent instrument of trust building between young elites of both countries.
ON REFORMS AND EU INTEGRATION
Recommendation 3: The Georgian Government should continue democratic reforms and holding the free and fair elections to enhance its added value to Euro-Atlantic security. Georgian Government should continue reforms to achieve full independence of judiciary and strengthen role of the legislative branch.
Recommendation 4: Strengthening EU’s Eastern Partnership fi nancially and strategically would be instrumental for supporting the consolidation of democracy in Georgia. Germany should increase its support to Judiciary system reform, as well as the development of independent Media through training programs for journalists. At the same time, the visits of German journalists to Georgia/South Caucasus should be organized regularly to increase the German media’s interest in and expertise on the South Caucasus.
The best way for strengthening the security in Georgia is to support further the democratization process and establishment of the state based on rule of law, the citizens of which will be the equal steak-holders in its successes and failures. This is not only benefi cial for the internal stability of the country, but will also increase its attractiveness for population residing in occupied Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It will help Georgia to develop its soft power and to speed up its integration into EU structures. In addition to this, Georgian democratic success story will undoubtedly infl uence positively the developments in countries of the wider region.
ON CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT
Recommendation 5: The German Government should continue its diplomatic and political efforts on bilateral and multilateral levels to underline the unacceptability of the violation of the EU brokered ceasefi re agreement by Russia. The German Government should further support EUMM mission and subsequently strengthen its diplomatic efforts on bilateral and multilateral level to enable EUMM fully implement its mandate through expanding monitoring to the occupied zones. It is necessary that Germany and other EU-partners continue sending qualitative experts to the mission.
Recommendation 6: Germany can and should play a more active role in political efforts of the international community to end Russia’s illegal military presence and effective control of Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali region. Germany, having the biggest soft power and closest relations with Russia in Europe, should take the leadership within EU on resolution of confl icts in Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
In particular, following Germany’s record as a sponsor of confl ict settlement plans (Years 2001 and 2008), the German Government should initiate the creation of a working group for drafting a comprehensive settlement roadmap for these confl icts, which will include the facilitators of the Geneva process (EU, US, OSCE and UN). Taking into account international peacekeeping and confl ict resolution experience, this working group should draft realistic guiding documents for all components/phases of a comprehensive settlement process.
Violation by Russia of a ceasefi re agreement brokered and guaranteed by EU, signifi cantly damages EU’s credibility and compromises security in Europe.
Improvement of security requires leadership, and enhancing the security on continental scale requires a continental scale leadership. In Europe, on time being, there is only one country that has enough economic and soft power as well as leverage on Russia to support the solution of Europe’s protracted confl icts. Resolution of these confl icts will result into a win-win security situation in Europe, what will increase the soft power of its user even further and grant its leadership ambitions the political and moral legitimacy in Eastern Europe, as well as in Western Europe.
In addition to ongoing positive EU efforts, starting the work on drafting a comprehensive settlement roadmap that goes in parallel with Geneva process will prevent the indefi nite stalling the confl ict resolution process and re-energize the Geneva process itself.
ON NATO INTEGRATION
Recommendation 7: To follow on the decisions taken on NATO Bucharest Summit, an unequivocal indication should be made that existing NATO-Georgia cooperation mechanisms have a clear aim of and are suffi cient for preparing Georgia for NATO membership.
Germany could play a key role in guiding Georgia through entire integration process, including the implementation of Georgia’s obligations taken before the Alliance.
To facilitate the integration process without risking compromising the regional security, policy of delinking Georgia’s NATO and EU integration processes from the resolution of confl icts in and withdrawal of Russian military contingent from Georgia should be adopted and maintained. Acceptable arrangements on the application of Article 5 of Washington Treaty, in case of Georgia’s accession to NATO, could also be elaborated to facilitate emergence of NATO consensus on full go ahead with country’s accession process.
This will re-energize and qualitatively improve Georgia’s democratic transformation process and provide an opportunity to signifi cantly increase the involvement of Germany and other allies in planning, monitoring, evaluation and implementation support of this process. Germany has been historically in close relationship with Georgia during both, short-lived Georgian independence after collapse of Tsarist Empire in 1917 and the regained independence since the 1991.
We strongly believe that there is a consensus, both, within NATO and EU that democratization of post-Soviet countries is necessary to make Europe as a whole, free and secure. Furthermore, we strongly believe that NATO expansion doesn’t represent the threat to any other nation and strengthens security and stability of Europe.
Blocking Georgian membership due to fear of aggravating the leadership of a third country not only gives wrong incentives and invites more intransigence, both, in rhetoric and action, but also undermines a narrative of democratization being the best choice for ensuring national security and, therefore, strengthens the autocratic tendencies on post-soviet space.
Such position constitutes granting actual de facto veto power to a nonNATO member. This harms NATO’s credibility, a critical source feeding its deterrence power, which in its turn is a very important factor for maintaining the peace and stability in Euro-Atlantic region and beyond.
After all, such a position contradicts to the recent experience acquired during the NATO accession process of Eastern European and Baltic countries that was successfully carried out notwithstanding equally strong protests by a third country and resulted in signifi cant strengthening of European security.
Georgia is not interested in exporting any insecurity to NATO and becoming the battleground for any purpose. Just to the contrary, its contributions to NATO operations proved that being a caveat free, sizeable contributor, it is one of the most valuable NATO partners and important exporters of security worldwide. To ensure that its membership is viewed as having added value to Euro-Atlantic security, Georgia together with NATO could certainly work out mutually acceptable arrangements in case of its accession to NATO.
ABOUT THE GEORGIAN-GERMAN STRATEGIC FORUM
Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Atlantic Council of Georgia are initiators of the strategic forum and act as organizers. Forum will hold meetings at least once in a year. It applies strict observance of Chatham House Rules
The Forum acts as a non-governmental forum that brings together representatives of all sectors (Academia and think-tanks, government, parliament, media) from Germany and Georgia and focuses mainly on the security policy fi eld. The main goal of the Forum is to strengthen and deepen bilateral relations between Georgia and Germany through further improving the partnership, increasing the mutual understanding and facilitating a better coordination of security policies.
Forum is intended to serve as a permanent venue for discussions on important strategic issues of mutual interest. The policy recommendations will be elaborated, as well as adequate bilateral projects launched and implemented within its frame.
When deemed useful, on a case by case basis, Forum can decide to involve the experts and/or policy makers also from other countries in its work, especially when this contributes to better understanding of and helps to bring closer the positions of Georgia and Germany on important security policy issues.
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