The secretary-general of NATO, Javier Solana, conferred with President Eduard Shevardnadze and other Georgian leaders in Tbilisi yesterday. Solana made clear NATO’s interest in the creation of a regional security environment for mineral development projects and international transportation routes. He and his Georgian hosts were in agreement that military security and conflict resolution in the region are closely interrelated with economic development, and specifically with foreign investment. Significantly, Solana described the region as part of a Euroatlantic security space.
The talks also covered Georgia’s military reform, the development of Georgia’s individual cooperation with NATO, efforts to unblock negotiations with Abkhazia and cooperation among the GUAM countries (Georgia-Ukraine-Azerbaijan-Moldova). NATO will sponsor a regional security conference next month in Tbilisi.
Georgian Parliament Chairman Zurab Zhvania stated publicly what the other leaders apparently said privately–namely, that “the international community is not exerting its influence on those outside forces that orchestrate separatist tendencies in Georgia.” Zhvania specifically identified the Russian government as the main supporter of Abkhaz secession. He described the Russian military bases elsewhere in Georgia (Ajaria and Javakhetia) as “an instrument of political pressure upon the Georgian government.” Solana had arrived in Tbilisi from Moldova (see the Monitor, September 30) and proceeded from Georgia to Azerbaijan (International agencies, September 30).
KYRGYZ PRESIDENT, PARLIAMENT AT LOGGERHEADS OVER POWERS AND REFORMS.