James Appathurai: NATO will support Georgia’s membership
Author: By Nino Edilashvili
At the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago, the alliance will express support for Georgia’s membership – this was the key message by NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai in Tbilisi.
Appathurai, at a joint press conference with Giorgi Baramidze, the Vice-Prime Minister of Georgia and State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, stated on October 27 that his goal was to prepare the visit of the North Atlantic Council, the senior decision-making body of NATO, scheduled in Tbilisi for November 9-10.
As Appathurai noted, the future visit headed by the NATO Secretary General would be “a visible sign of commitment that NATO has to our partnership with Georgia.”
According to the NATO webpage, the position of special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia was created on an ad hoc basis, following the decision taken by NATO Allies at the Istanbul Summit in 2004, to place a special focus on “the strategically important regions” of the Caucasus and Central Asia. A central element of this special focus is enhanced liaison arrangements, including the appointment of a special representative and two NATO liaison officers- one for each region.
James Appathurai replaced Robert F. Simmons in this position almost a year ago in December of 2010. Having served as NATO’s spokesperson from 2004 to 2010, Appathurai’s duties now include providing advice to the secretary general on how best to achieve NATO’s goals in the two regions, and how best to cope with the security concerns of NATO’s partners.
Appathurai is also responsible for overall coordination of NATO’s partnership policy in the two regions and is working closely with regional leaders to boost their cooperation with the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization.