TBILISI, DFWatch — NATO will not interfere in the legal process in Georgia in regard to the recent detentions of former government officials, the alliance’s Secretary General says.

After summing up a meeting of the NATO-Georgia commission in Brussels, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that NATO once again acknowledged the successful conduct of the parliament election in October by which the country passed a very important test.

At the meeting they also discussed the recent arrests of former officials, and in addressing that issue Rasmussen noted that NATO has no intention of interfering with the legal process in Georgia.

“But we have added to that that it is of utmost importance that the authorities in Georgia respect fully the fundamental principles of the rule of law and people who are arrested also are guaranteed due process,” he said. “And we have stressed that it’s of utmost importance that these legal cases are not perceived as political persecution, and even the perception is here very important.”

He said the foreign affairs minister assured him that people will get a due process, but NATO ‘will now follow the development closely.’

A journalist from Georgian Public Broadcaster asked him if cohabitation will really work in the country, as the President represents the opposition.

The Secretary General drew attention to a recent agreement between the sides to appoint a new chair of the joint staff, which has been an issue for discussion for weeks.

NATO welcomed this step, as it is an indication that the parties involved try to move forward to ensure smooth cohabitation, he said.

“The challenge now is to maintain momentum to ensure that Georgia stays on the path of democratic reforms.”