TBILISI, DFWatch – James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, is visiting Georgia.

Apparthurai came in order to take part in “NATO Week”, which he officially opened today, together with Vice Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze at Courtyard Marriott Hotel. The two had a meeting before the conference started.

During the opening proceedings, Apparthurai thanked Georgia for participating in the ISAF mission, and expressed his condolence for the 16 Georgian soldiers who have died in Afghanistan.

Georgia is not only aspiring to become NATO member, but is doing everything for this, he said.

He underlined that decisions on Georgia at the Chicago summit were very important and also that it was important that Georgia was among four countries called ‘aspirant countries’.

“Georgia is an important participant in the international security system and actively involved in the NATO operation in Afghanistan. The alliance appreciates this and believes that Georgia makes a major contribution to the fight against international terrorism,” Appathurai said yesterday when he arrived at the airport.

He added that Georgia is a country NATO can rely on.

Like his superior, the NATO Secretary General did while visiting earlier this year, Appathurai emphasized the importance of the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, and said they will be a serious exam for Georgian democracy.

Also the U.S.’ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke about the importance of conducting transparent and fair elections when she visited last week.

NATO Week will end on June 16. This is the fifth time it is held in Georgia.