The topic of this online discussion was ‘Black Sea Security: Creative Thinking and Georgia’s Perspectives’.
The Chairman of Geocase, Mr Viktor Kipiani, stated that ongoing developments require fast and effective steps to be taken in order to strengthen the presence of our Western partners on the Black Sea.
‘It is vitally important to correct security imbalances along the Alliance’s eastern flank and to restore parity between the Baltic and Black Sea regions. Ongoing processes require that we rapidly take effective steps to strengthen the presence of our Western partners on the Black Sea according to a principle of “One Flank, One Threat, One Presence”. The specific characteristics of the Black Sea region must also be taken into consideration, and notably the ferocity with which different geopolitical interests are in confrontation. The region is of critical importance to Russia’s efforts to ensure strategic depth along her southern borders, and as a corridor towards the Mediterranean and North Africa,’ stated Mr Kipiani.
According to Mr Kipiani, the Black Sea region is the lock of the Eastern European and Middle Eastern security: ‘Security in the Black Sea plays a role beyond the region’s borders, and acts as a kind of lock for Eastern European and Middle Eastern security. Also, China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy will in the not-too-distant future add a new and important dimension to the Black Sea region, further complicating the task of ensuring a balance of power between the region’s different actors.’
The Director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation, Mr Luke Coffey argued that NATO’s naval presence in the Black Sea should be increased in order to strengthen the Alliance’s position in the region, and suggested establishing a Black Sea Security Centre in Georgia. It could be a model of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn. He also underlined the fact that many things have changed since the Bucharest Summit and that Georgia can continue its Euro-Atlantic integration process separately, ‘but we must help Georgia as well as Ukraine on their paths towards Euro-Atlantic integration,’ he added.
The President of Georgia, H.E. Salome Zourabichvili contributed to this online discussion, pointing out that she raised the idea of a centre of excellence in Batumi to NATO authorities 1 year ago—an initiative that she hopes will be carried out.
The Research Fellow at Geocase, Dr Khatuna Burkadze noted that Georgia’s integration into NATO can be accelerated and the twelve years' promise of the Bucharest Summit should be delivered in the future. She highlighted: “Historically, the enlargement of NATO has illustrated that it brings security and stability to the countries and the regions. NATO should remain an important instrument for Western strategy in the Black Sea region. This issue is crucial for the concept of - a Europe, whole, free and at peace because the Black Sea region, whole and free is an integral part of the European security architecture. In this regard, Georgia is a reliable partner due to the following reasons:
- Despite impediments, Georgia made startlingly rapid progress in democratic transition. Also, adoption of the constitutional amendment has illustrated that Georgia has taken an important step towards greater parliamentary pluralism for the 2020 parliamentary elections. Georgia is an example for the region;
- Georgia has important progress in the process of Euro-Atlantic integration, showing the unwavering commitment of Georgian people towards shared values. Currently, Georgia has almost 900 troops in Afghanistan making it the largest non-NATO troop contributor to the NATO training mission. Georgia will continue to contribute to the European security architecture for achieving together with partners the common goal - a Europe, whole, free and at peace;
- Georgia’s strategic location makes it important for NATO. Georgia sits at a crucial geographical and cultural crossroads and has proven itself to be strategically important for economic and military reasons. Georgia offers its infrastructure and logistic capabilities for the transit of NATO forces. "
Ambassador Nikoloz Rtveliashvili emphasized the historic and modern aspects of security in the Black Sea region.
Please click here to view the webinar recording