Tbilisi City Council decorated with the NATO member state flags (Facebook)

Tbilisi, DFWatch – Two-day NATO–Georgia Public Diplomacy Forum in Tbilisi opened NATO Week 2016, which will last from 4 to 19 April.

‘Georgia’s NATO and EU integration is our return to the European family with whom we are linked to by our common values of democracy, freedom and human rights protection. During its 66-year existence, NATO had proven it was the strongest alliance in the modern world’s history. Being a NATO member would guarantee Georgia’s security and independence’, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said during the opening ceremony.

State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Davit Bakradze and Deputy Assistant of NATO Secretary General, Ted Whiteside also took part in the opening ceremony.

Speakers paid special attention to the upcoming NATO Warsaw Summit in June.

‘Our task is to emerge much stronger than we are now after the Warsaw summit. The Substantial NATO–Georgia Package was adopted in Wales strengthened our capacity, but it’s not enough, our ambitions are greater. We expect that the Warsaw summit will give us answers to the key questions that remained after the summit in Wales — the issue of responsibility in our relations’, minister of defence, Tina Khidasheli said.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili called for a ‘peaceful end to the tensions’ in the recent outbreak of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh.

‘I would like to call our neighbours, in the context of the Caucasus region, to put as much effort as possible to peacefully end the tensions in the region which is just a few hundred kilometres away from us and to include to the full extent diplomatic sources and methods with involvement from the international community in order to neutralise the tension and conflict’, Mr

This year’s NATO Week is dedicated to the 10thanniversary of the establishment of the NATO and the EU Information Centre in Georgia.

Other planned events include opening of a regional office of the Information Centre on NATO and EU in the town of Akhalkalaki, which is populated predominantly by ethnic Armenians and an information campaign in the town of Marneuli, with the significant ethnic Azerbaijani population.