167 DSCFC 07 E bis - VIEWING NATO FROM THE SOUTH CAUCASUS: ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN AND GEORGIA
TABLE OF CONTENTS
II. ARMENIA-NATO CO-OPERATION: SUBMISSION BY THE DELEGATION OF ARMENIA
A. INDIVIDUAL PARTNERSHIP PLAN (IPP)
III. AZERBAIJAN-NATO RELATIONS: SUBMISSION BY THE DELEGATION OF AZERBAIJAN
IV. THE GEORGIAN REFORM PROCESS: SUBMISSION BY THE DELEGATION OF GEORGIA
A. SECURITY SECTOR REFORMS
1. This Special report is comprised of submissions from the NATO PA Delegations of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
2. The concept for this report emerged from discussions at the Sub-Committee's fall 2006 meeting on the report by then Sub-Committee Rapporteur Frank Cook (UK) entitled "NATO's Role in the South Caucasus Region". 1
3. In light of the many issues raised by the 2006 report of the Sub-Committee, the Rapporteur proposed that the delegations from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia draft short reports for presentation and discussion at the Committee meetings at the Spring and Fall sessions. The three delegations agreed, as did the Chairman of the Defence and Security Committee Julio Miranda-Calha (PT).
4. These reports were to concentrate solely on the affairs and interests of the respective country in its relations with NATO and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. The reports were to discuss the reform process in each country as it relates to their agreements with NATO, making no reference directly or indirectly to any neighbouring country or third party. Therefore, specific topics could include security sector reform, as well as political, judicial and economic reforms. The report could also include a description of the country's aspirations for future relations with NATO.
5. The three delegations agreed that the report would be presented by a representative from each of the three delegations, and be discussed in the Committee meetings, but not formally approved.
6. Each delegation submitted its section in a timely fashion and within the guidelines that had been agreed. Other than very minor copy-editing for clarity, the chapters below represent the submissions as they were received by the NATO PA International Secretariat.
7. Because this report is composed of sections written by associate members, it cannot represent the views of the Rapporteur, the Committee as a whole, or the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
8. Full co-operation with NATO is a component of the Armenian multi-layer security system. Armenia will continue its active co-operation within the framework of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) and implement joint programmes with the Alliance.
9. In recent years, Armenia-NATO co-operation has become more tangible and achieved a new level. This is the result of not only Armenia's wish aimed at deepening relations with the Alliance, but also due to the new policy approved by NATO in which the South Caucasian region and the development of individual strategic relations are a major focus of NATO.
10. Armenia holds regular political consultations with NATO. Since 2005, three meetings took place in 26+1 format [North Atlantic Council (NAC)-Armenia] with the participation of Foreign and Defence Ministers. Since the beginning of his assignment, Special Representative of the NATO SG Robert F. Simmons visits Armenia twice a year and does not fail to meet its ruling class.
11. Armenia intends to maintain the current trend of relations with NATO and strengthen the co-operation focused on the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), Planning and Review Process (PARP), Partnership Action Plan-Defence Institutions Building (PAP-DIB) and Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism (PAP-T). Co-operation with NATO has become one of the most dynamic developing trends of Armenian foreign policy.
12. The active participation in the framework of the Partnership is important for the establishment and development of proper levels of bilateral relations not only with NATO, but also with the Alliance's member states.
13. With its peacekeeping battalion and other forces, Armenia participates in the Planning and Review Process. The efficient implementation of the Armenia-NATO IPAP in its turn will promote the improvement and modernization of the defence system, increase the latter's efficiency and secure interoperability with the defence systems of Alliance members, including their armed forces.
14. The main goal of the co-operation is to shape a modern defence system and armed forces in Armenia, with the view of jointly functioning in NATO-led operations. This goal implies securing forces' interoperability and reforming the defence and security system. An important objective of the co-operation is the fight against international terrorism, which in turn is also greatly conditioned on a reform of the defence and security systems and on an improvement of interoperability.
15. Differentiated and individualized formats and processes of co-operation are used in the framework of the Partnership. It is expedient to further develop the Partnership towards the strengthening and deepening of the individualized format. In this respect, the holding of political consultations in the format 26+1 is especially important.
A. INDIVIDUAL PARTNERSHIP PLAN (IPP)
16. The IPP currently comprises 33 areas of co-operation. Armenia develops its annual IPAP involving events in about 20 areas. Regarding the military co-operation last year, 95 events were selected. This year there were 105 events, most of which are being implemented. The Armenian Defence Ministry prioritises exercises, peacekeeping, language teaching, communications and automated management systems, educational programmes, defence policies, logistics support, military medicine, defence and budget planning, public awareness-raising and operational capabilities concept. Meanwhile, the IPP is harmonized with the Partnership Goals within the framework of the Planning and Review Process (this year according to the NATO statistics the Armenian IPP implemented in 2006 and the one planned for 2007 fully conform to the Armenia-NATO co-operation goals).
17. Armenia is actively participating in the NATO PfP exercises, including troops. In 2002 Armenia participated in the NATO PfP exercises in Georgia involving troops, in 2005 in Ukraine, and in 2006 in Moldova. In 2007, Armenia will attend the "Cooperative Lancer/Longbow-07" exercises to be held in Albania. In 2003, Armenia hosted the "Joint Best Effort" exercises, involving almost all Armenian armed forces' services in the organisation and holding the event. Given the positive experience this year, Armenia has asked NATO about the possibility of hosting in 2008 the "Cooperative Longbow" command post and "Cooperative Lancer" field exercises on its territory. Last year Armenia hosted the "Rescuer-2006", and this year it will host the "Combined Endeavor-07" exercises in the PfP spirit.
18. In 2005 Armenia also took part in the NATO Crisis management military-political exercises, which required solely the participation of staff officers. According to the same principle, in 2006, Armenia participated in the NATO "Steadfast Jaw" command-post exercise planning stages, and, in 2007 in planning conferences for the "Crisis management-08" military-political exercises.
C. OPERATIONAL CAPABILITIES CONCEPT (OCC)
19. The OCC will be used for the development of military preparedness programmes of the Armenian armed forces peacekeeping battalion and their harmonization with NATO standards.
20. In 2004, Armenia declared one demining detached unit of the Armenian armed forces in the OCC forces reserve and one infantry platoon. On 30 April 2006, the OCC declared platoon was enlarged and transformed into a company, which will be assessed in September 2007 in co-operation with NATO experts. In late 2008, it is envisaged to transform this company into a battalion, and its assessment will take place in 2008 during the "Cooperative Lancer/Longbow" PfP exercises to be held in Armenia. According to preliminary estimates over 1,000 servicemen will be involved in these exercises.
D. PARTICIPATION IN NATO-LED OPERATIONS
21. The participation of the Armenian peacekeeping unit in the NATO-led peacekeeping operations is of vital importance for the further development of Armenia-NATO military co-operation and interoperability of forces.
22. On 12 February 2004, the Armenian armed forces peacekeeping platoon was sent and stationed in Kosovo within the Greek battalion, opening a new page in the Armenia-NATO relations. The participation of the peacekeeping platoon in the Kosovo operation continues today.
23. According to the Allied operations commander, NATO plans to gradually reduce the personnel in Kosovo in the foreseeable future. Instead, a large-scale launching of forces will take place in Afghanistan. In this situation, the Armenian authorities are studying the possibilities and forms of participation in the NATO-led operations in Afghanistan.
E. CO-OPERATION WITH NATO COMMANDS
24. The co-operation with NATO strategic commands is important in order to develop practical military co-operation with NATO. Since 2005 both Allied Command Operations (ACO) and Allied Command Transformation (ACT) have displayed an unprecedented interest in the co-operation with Armenia.
F. ALLIED COMMAND OPERATIONS (ACO)
25. In June 2005, a NATO Allied Command Operations (Mons) expert group visited Armenia, and in January 2006, a delegation of Joint Force Command (Brunssum) did it as well. Based on Armenian Defence Ministry's submitted requirements it has been suggested that expert and mobile groups should be sent to Armenia and carry out on-site thematic trainings and support specific tasks. It is anticipated that this initiative will be on-going.
G. ALLIED COMMAND TRANSFORMATION (ACT)
26. Armenia is also actively attending various events organised within the ACT. In August 2006, the Armenian Defence Ministry appointed an officer in the ACT.
H. PARTNERSHIP ACTION PLAN-DEFENCE INSTITUTIONS BUILDING (PAP-DIB)
27. This programme was approved in 2004 at the Istanbul Summit with the view of forming common defence reform approaches and standards (10 democratic standards), which could become a guideline for the Central Asian and South Caucasian countries. The IPAP is a bilateral and individual document, and the PAP-DIB is a universal defence reform document. The areas mentioned in the programme supported the preparation of the Armenia IPAP document, enabling to focus on the areas subject to reform and acceptable for Armenia presented in the PAP-DIB.
I. PLANNING AND REVIEW PROCESS (PARP)
28. On 10 October 2002, the Republic of Armenia acceded to the PfP Planning and Review Process. The basic military objective of the PARP is to harmonize the military units declared by the states participating in the programme with NATO standards aimed at involving in NATO-led exercises, and, if need be, in peacekeeping operations.
29. According to the programme for participating in NATO exercises and operations, Armenia has already prepared one rifle company, and has expressed its readiness to prepare one peacekeeping battalion with its military and logistical units (logistics, intelligence, anti-tank, mortar launching, medical, demining, nuclear, biological and chemical defence), modernize the necessary communications system, and prepare staff officers to be appointed in NATO headquarters until 2010, in conformity with NATO standards. It is also envisaged to enlarge the peacekeeping battalion until 2015 and transform it into a brigade.
30. In 2005, the framework of this programme was enlarged enabling its extension to defence reforms. With the view of supporting IPAP within PARP, 10 new goals were added to the 23 goals approved in 2004. This was a new role for the Planning and Review Process - the basic tool for the defence reform implementation. In 2007 the number of Partnership Goals identified in the PARP has increased from 33 to 39.
J. CRISIS MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS
31. Armenia develops rather successful cooperation with the Alliance in Crisis Management.
32. On 4-5 December, 2006 a workshop on Crisis management was held in Yerevan. The aim of the workshop was to create a vision for an "Armenian Crisis Management Structure" and discuss how to implement this vision. A roadmap to guide the Armenian authorities through the process of establishing a new crisis management structure was presented by NATO experts.
33. The results of the workshop have been carefully studied and analysed, and the conclusions will be used to take practical steps towards the development of the Crisis management system in Armenia. As a first step, an Interagency commission has been set; the draft document on the Crisis Management Situation Centre elaborated by the Commission has been submitted to the Government approval.
K. SCIENCE FOR PEACE COMMITTEE
34. Armenia, in line with its priorities - environmental security, information and advanced technologies, is involved in several projects in the framework of Science for Peace Committee. South Caucasus River Monitoring, "Virtual Silk" project are being successfully implemented. Armenia recently put forward a new project proposal: "Strong Motion Network of the South Caucasus: Earthquake Impact on Environment." If approved, it will turn into a strong and promising component of regional cooperation.
L. INDIVIDUAL PARTNERSHIP ACTION PLAN (IPAP)
35. On 16 December 2005 following the approval of IPAP, Armenia became committed to the defence institutions reform, namely to move from the interoperability of designated troops to that of the common defence planning and management system.
36. The aims of the basic reform of the defence area will be the democratic control of the armed forces, separation of the Defence Ministry and the General Staff and introduction of the civil service in the Defence Ministry. Amendments will be made to the Law on Defence, where the role of the National Assembly in the management of the armed forces will be specified.
37. In accordance with the Armenia-NATO IPAP, Armenia has already elaborated its National Security Strategy, which was approved on 7 February 2007 by the President of the Republic of Armenia. The elaboration process was open. The strategy was developed by an inter-agency commission; open public deliberations took place; and hearings were organised in the National Assembly. An international security advisory group comprising experts from seven NATO member states contributed to the elaboration of the strategy.
38. The elaboration of the Military Doctrine is currently underway, and its approval will be followed by the legislative reform of defence. Committed to its obligations under the IPAP, Armenia aims to:
- Strengthen co-operation with Euro-Atlantic structures and institutions;
39. In recent years, the core of the political reforms implemented in Armenia was the constitutional referendum that took place on 27 November 2005. Among other reforms under the constitutional amendments was enlarging the role of the Parliament in the country's political system, in particular in forming the government, and in the appointment and potential dismissal of the Prime Minister. Furthermore the right of the President of the Republic to dissolve the Parliament has been restricted. One of the most important reforms was the possibility for any citizen of the Republic of Armenia, along with one-fifth of the members of Parliament and the ombudsman, to apply to the Constitutional Court. This constitutional right has already been utilised by hundreds of ordinary Armenian citizens, the ombudsman and parliamentary opposition. The reformed Constitution was recognized by the most authoritative specialised structures as in full conformity with international standards. It creates qualitatively new opportunities for strengthening democracy, protection of human rights and provide for the rule of law.
40. The implementation of the Armenia-NATO IPAP is taking place in accordance with planned timelines; in some instances those timelines have been significantly shortened. The results of the IPAP assessment by NATO from 30 January to 2 February 2007 attest to it. These results were first discussed at the meetings of the NATO Political-Military Steering Committee, and later at the North-Atlantic Council meeting in a 26+1 format on 4 April 2007. During these two meetings the representatives and ambassadors of the NATO member states unanimously stated the obvious progress by Armenia in the implementation of the IPAP and expressed their readiness to continue supporting the further implementation of the IPAP. It should be mentioned that both IPAP and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) are regarded as complementary projects not only by Armenia but also by NATO.
M. CO-OPERATION BETWEEN ARMENIA AND THE NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY
41. Armenia attaches great importance to the role of the NATO PA in Armenia-NATO co-operation. Since 2002 Armenia has been an associate member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and actively participates in all sessions and other events.
42. On 12-14 June 2006, the Sub-Committees of the NATO PA Defence and Security and Civil Dimension of Security Committees jointly visited Armenia. During the visit the delegation members met with Tigran Torosyan, Speaker of the National Assembly, with members of the Armenian associate delegation to the NATO PA, the Defence and Foreign ministers of Armenia, the Head of the National Security Service and other top officials. During the meetings, issues such as Euro-Atlantic integration and defence reform were discussed.
43. On 21 June 2007, Ambassador Robert Simmons, Special Representative of the NATO Secretary General in the South Caucasus, visited Armenia. He had meetings with the Armenian President, with the Speaker of the National Assembly and other officials. Ambassador Simmons expressed his satisfaction with the successful implementation of the IPAP and congratulated the Speaker of Parliament on the positive assessment of the Armenian parliamentary elections by international observers. The Speaker of the National Assembly assured the Ambassador that Armenia would continue its co-operation with NATO and be committed to all its obligations.
III. AZERBAIJAN-NATO RELATIONS: SUBMISSION BY THE DELEGATION OF AZERBAIJAN
44. Azerbaijan occupies a crucial geo-strategic location in the South Caucasus. Due to its vast energy resources and fast-growing economic power as well as strategic potential for developing energy transportation and transit routes linking Europe with oil and gas-rich Caspian region and Central Asia, Azerbaijan has become an important political player not only in the South Caucasus, but also for the whole Euro-Atlantic area. Azerbaijan is ready to contribute to the energy security and cultural diversity of Europe, and aspires to have a strategic partnership with and integration into Euro-Atlantic structures.
45. Since restoring its independence in 1991 the Republic of Azerbaijan has pursued a strategic goal of integration into the European and Euro-Atlantic political, security, economic and legal structures. Azerbaijan considers its partnership with the Euro-Atlantic structures as a means for contributing to security, economic prosperity and democracy in the whole Euro-Atlantic area. Azerbaijan has established a close working relationship with NATO, aimed at developing interoperability and appropriate joint capabilities to respond to crises and threats, as well as to deal with conflicts and instability in the Euro-Atlantic area. Azerbaijan is determined to share the burden of building a common Euro-Atlantic security system without geographic or political discrimination, which contradicts the principle of indivisibility of security.
46. Azerbaijan fully utilizes all Partnership mechanisms within NATO's PfP programme and Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. In that regard, the Individual Partnership Action Plan) is a significant way to strengthen co-operation with NATO in a short and long-term perspective. Azerbaijan will continue using IPAP to reform its defence and security sector to meet NATO standards, as well as for developing enhanced political dialogue with Alliance.
47. Azerbaijan's co-operation and partnership with NATO and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly should help it transform its security and defence concepts and resources into an instrument able to meet the requirements in NATO's political agenda vis-à-vis the above-mentioned threats and challenges. This co-operation should also contribute to the resolution of outstanding territorial and border disputes.
48. We also share the position of the NATO member countries that international stability and security depend increasingly on domestic reform and on far-reaching international co-operation.
49. Stemming from the goals stated above, we would like to reiterate the readiness of Azerbaijan to further deepen and expand its relations with NATO and NATO PA in the fields of mutual interest. As a result, Azerbaijan and NATO adopted the IPAP document containing important commitments in political and security areas, including the defence and security sector reform.
50. We also understand that the reform process itself creates favourable conditions for the integration of the Republic of Azerbaijan into Euro-Atlantic structures. We, as MPs of the Milli Mejlis (Parliament) of the Republic of Azerbaijan, do not exclude the opportunity for Azerbaijan to become member of NATO in the future.
51. The Republic of Azerbaijan positively considers growing interest of NATO in the South Caucasus and would welcome the Alliance's active role in dealing with conflicts and crises in the region that represent a serious threat to peace and security in the whole Euro-Atlantic area.
B. BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON AZERBAIJAN-NATO RELATIONS
52. Azerbaijan-NATO co-operation goes back to March 1992 when Azerbaijan together with the other 37 countries joined the North Atlantic Co-operation Council (NACC), which was transformed to Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) in 1997. Relations between Azerbaijan and NATO were given a significant impetus, when on 4 May 1994, the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev signed the Partnership for Peace Framework Document and Azerbaijan joined the PfP Programme. The Partnership for Peace Programme has proved to be a very successful mechanism in promoting and developing defence co-operation and military interoperability between NATO and partner nations, that enables us to engage in joint crisis management and peace support operations.
53. In 1996, Azerbaijan submitted its PfP Presentation Document to NATO and its first Individual Partnership Programme was adopted. The annual Individual Partnership Programme is prepared between NATO and Azerbaijan to meet the goals, objectives and requirements stemming from the PfP Presentation Document of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Along with the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the following government agencies have also been involved in the Individual Partnership Programme between NATO and Azerbaijan: State Border Service, Ministry of National Security, Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Communication, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transportation, Azerbaijan Airlines, Ministry of Economic Development, State Oil Company, Academy of Sciences, State Customs Committee, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Industry and Energy, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action. Starting from 2004, a newly-established Ministry of Emergencies and Ministry of Defence Industry have also been involved in the IPP.
54. The Individual Partnership Programme contributed greatly to raising the level of mutual familiarization and development of practical interaction between the Armed Forces, as well as other relevant security and civil agencies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and those of Allies and Partners. Annually expanding the scope of its Individual Partnership Programme, Azerbaijan participated in more than 250 NATO/PfP activities and events in 2006, which is one of the highest figures among the Partner Nations and the highest in the South Caucasus.
55. Azerbaijan was also the first country in the region to sign a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with NATO in 1996.
56. In 1997, Azerbaijan was among one of the first post-soviet Republics that joined the Planning and Review Process. For the PARP cycle of 2000-2002, Azerbaijan accepted 27 Partnership Goals (PGs). Most PGs have been fully implemented, and some, due to financial constraints, partially implemented.
57. For the PARP cycle of 2004-2006, the number of PGs taken by Azerbaijan increased to 33. It is worthwhile to note Azerbaijan was the first partner nation to introduce its State Border Service and Internal Troops to the PARP process in January 2004.
58. PARP has been very instrumental in developing military interoperability with NATO and preparing Azerbaijani units for joining NATO-led peace support operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan, as well as in the international coalition in Iraq. In September 1999, Azerbaijan sent its first 28 men strong platoon (currently 34 people) to Kosovo, as part of a NATO-led peacekeeping operation. On 18 November 2002, the government of Azerbaijan decided to dispatch a peacekeeping platoon to Afghanistan as a part of ISAF. In coming months, a second Azerbaijani platoon will join ISAF. On 15 August 2003, a 150-men peacekeeping contingent of Azerbaijan was sent to Iraq.
59. The Operational Capabilities Concept is one of the key elements of the Enhanced and More Operational PfP, which was endorsed during the Washington Summit in April 1999. The Republic of Azerbaijan joined the Operational Capabilities Concept in 2004, by declaring one company for a joint pool of forces. The Azerbaijani company recently completed the first level of the OCC Assessment and Feedback Programme and is preparing for its first NATO assessment.
60. Azerbaijan was among the first to express its intention to join Individual Partnership Action Plan, which was suggested to partner nations by Alliance as a new PfP mechanism at the NATO Prague Summit in 2002. An official "letter of intent" was submitted to NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, during his visit to Azerbaijan on 15 May 2003. As envisaged by IPAP modalities the government of Azerbaijan prepared the IPAP Presentation Document, which was delivered by Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, to NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, during an official visit to Belgium on 19 May 2004 at NATO HQ. On 27 May 2005, Azerbaijan's IPAP document containing concrete objectives and actions on significant domestic reform was agreed by the North Atlantic Council and subsequently approved by President Ilham Aliyev. IPAP covers such areas of co-operation as foreign and security policy, defence and security sector reform, anti-terrorism, economic aspects of defence and security, public information, science and environment, civil emergency planning. The March 2006 first full assessment by NATO noted considerable progress by Azerbaijan in implementing its IPAP. In spring 2007, Azerbaijan successfully completed its first IPAP cycle and started together with NATO International Staff (IS) to elaborate new IPAP document for the second, 2007-2009 cycle. NATO's final assessment on the first IPAP cycle in Azerbaijan indicated continued progress on defence and security sector reform, institution building, public diplomacy and science.
C. GOVERNMENTAL COMMISSION ON CO-OPERATION WITH NATO
61. With the goal of intensifying co-operation with NATO, Azerbaijan established a Governmental Commission on Co-operation with NATO in November 1997. The Commission consists of 17 major ministries and agencies of Azerbaijan (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice, State Border Service, State Customs Committee, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industry and Energy, State Oil Company, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, Ministry of Defence Industry, National Academy of Sciences, Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies, Ministry of Transport, and "Azerbaijan Airlines" State Concern).
62. Since last year (2006), Ministry of Emergencies has been included in the Governmental Commission. The Commission, chaired by the First Deputy Prime Minister, meets twice a year at the level of Ministers and reports to the President.
63. Besides the Commission, a Working Group set up at the level of experts and chaired by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs also contributes to the effective and operational work of the commission and meets regularly, at least once a month, to discuss Azerbaijani-NATO co-operation.
D. CIVIL EMERGENCY PLANNING
64. Within the framework of the NATO PfP programme, the Republic of Azerbaijan cooperates with NATO CEP Directorate, Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee and its eight subordinate Planning Boards and Committees. The Special Working Group consisting of experts who represent Azerbaijan in NATO CEP Planning Boards and Committees is working within the framework of the Governmental Commission on co-operation with NATO. Under the order of Minister of Defence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, a Search and Rescue platoon was created within the Civil Defence regiment to be in constant-ready status. The platoon is provided with necessary machinery and equipment to conduct search and rescue operations at the international level. The Search and Rescue platoon participated in the "EMERCOM-EADRCC Disaster Response Exercise" hosted by EMERCOM and NATO Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center in Russia on 25-27 September 2002, and in the Consequence Management Exercise "DACIA 2003" hosted by Ministry of Interior of Romania and NATO EADRCC in Romania on 07-10 October 2003. Current plans call for the development of the Search and Rescue platoon up to the level of company in the near future.
E. CO-OPERATION IN SCIENCE AND PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
65. Azerbaijani scientists participate in NATO Science Programme Fellowships on a regular basis. The Fellowships, supported by NATO Science for Peace Programme, allow scientists from Partner countries to study and perform research in other NATO countries on issues such as the environment, advanced information-communication technologies, and demilitarization. Azerbaijan joined several main projects such as the "Virtual Silk Highway" Project based on internet computer networking, NATO/CCMS pilot project on the environmental security of the Caspian Sea, "SALOGLU" NATO PfP Trust Fund Project (safe destruction of stocks of anti-personnel land mines), and disposal of Liquid Rocket Propellant stocks in Azerbaijan.
66. Since 2003, NISA (NATO International School of Azerbaijan) became very popular among students and young scientists not only from Azerbaijan, but also from the other countries of the world. The sessions are traditionally focused on Euro-Atlantic security issues, and are designed for promoting public understanding on Euro-Atlantic integration process of Azerbaijan. Sessions take place during the summer and winter.
67. In 2006, another key event in the framework of NATO Public Diplomacy was an inauguration of Euro-Atlantic Center (EAC) in one of the biggest libraries of Azerbaijan in Baku. In fact, the EAC is a public information source for those who are interested in NATO and security-related issues. Today the EAC enjoys considerable development and popularity among interested people. In the summer of this year, the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, in co-operation with the Foreign Ministry, has established the second Euro-Atlantic Center in the western part of Azerbaijan - in the city of Ganja.
F. NATO/EAPC/PfP EVENTS
68. Since joining the PfP, Azerbaijan has hosted many NATO/EAPC seminars, workshops, conferences and exercises to promote mutual understanding on security issues and foster military interoperability between civil officials, Armed Forces of Partners and those of Allies.
69. On 4-6 November 1997, a preparatory seminar of "Cooperative Demand" command staff exercise was held in Baku. This was the first military event held in Azerbaijan in the framework of NATO/PfP.
70. On 27-28 May 1999, a meeting of EAPC in the Atlantic Policy Advisory Group (APAG) session was held in Baku. Many foreign policy officials and security analysts from NATO and Partner nations have joined this APAG event, since it was first in the South Caucasus.
71. On 05-17 November 2001 "Cooperative Determination," a command post/computer-assisted exercise was held in Baku. Nine NATO and eleven partner countries participated in the exercise aimed at improving military interoperability for crisis response operations.
72. Currently, the reforms in the Armed Forces are mainly carried out in the following directions: harmonization of the basic structure and training-educational system with the NATO standards; elaboration of the military doctrine on the basis of recently adopted national security concept; creation of one mobile military battalion; development of transparent planning and budgeting system; modernizing one military airfield; modernizing battle ships in the navy; improving National PfP Training Center; and training on the international humanitarian law.
73. In order to further improve the military co-operation with the Alliance, the following bodies have been established under the MoD: Euro-Atlantic Integration Department; Commission on NATO's Standardization Agreements; NATO/PfP Chair in the high educational establishments of Azerbaijan; and National PfP Training Center.
74. The reforms in the Armed Forces first covered military education. Starting in 1997, curriculums of several high military schools and colleges within short period of time were harmonized according to the NATO standards. Since 2001, young officers have been educated in the new system and have been serving in the military. In 2006, the Simulation and Modeling Center was established and is currently functioning.
75. At present, within the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Work Plan (EAPWP), as well as bilateral co-operation with different countries, every year, about 1,500 people from Azerbaijan Armed Forces participate in more than 300 different language and specialty training courses, seminars, workshops, conferences, working meetings, planning conferences, exercises and other events. A domestic commission has been set up for drafting a military doctrine. It will be elaborated on the basis of the National Security Concept, which has recently been approved by the President. Currently, preparations are under way to start the Strategic Defence Review in the armed forces that will be followed by review within other security agencies.
76. The Staff structure of one Army Corps (headquarters of the Army Corps and its 3 motorifle brigades) of the Armed Forces has been changed to follow NATO standards. It is planned that, during the years of 2007-2008, all the armed forces will be gradually transformed according to NATO standards. Service regulations, manuals, charters, instructions and other guiding documents regulating the activity of the armed forces are also under review for improvement according to NATO standards. The experiences of a number of NATO countries are being studied to introduce transparent planning and budgeting systems. Currently, specialists are being trained for this purpose and corresponding guiding documents are being drafted.
77. In implementation of its commitments assumed before the Council of Europe, NATO and the EU, Azerbaijan successfully carries out political, economic and social reforms by harmonizing its legislation with European standards.
H. ENERGY SECURITY
78. Secure delivery of energy resources in the Caspian Sea to international markets is an important element of Azerbaijan's foreign and economic policy. Azerbaijan is ready to contribute to the European energy security through the construction of multiple oil and gas pipelines infrastructure linking the Caspian region with Europe.
79. Recently signed by Azerbaijan, the Memorandums of Understanding on Energy Security with the European Union and the United States represent an issue of historic significance as well as recognition of Azerbaijan's role in the sphere of energy.
80. An Oil Fund has been established, which accumulates all revenues from export of energy resources, operates in a transparent manner and provides regular reports on its activities. Azerbaijan acceded to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), put forward by the British Prime Minister in 2002, and established the National Committee on EITI. The Second International Conference on EITI, held in London on 17 March 2005, particularly commended achievements of Azerbaijan as pilot country implementing EITI. Furthermore, the Memorandum of Understanding between the Committee on EITI and foreign and local companies as well as the NGOs was concluded with a view to ensure transparency in the activity of the Fund.
I. ACCESSION TO WTO AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS
81. Talks are underway with the World Trade Organisation (WTO). On 2 August 2006, the President of Azerbaijan, Mr Ilham Aliyev, signed an order to approve the "Schedule of Events aimed at harmonization of legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan with the requirements of WTO". During the years of independence, more than $36 billion, including about $26 billion of foreign investment, have been put in the economy of Azerbaijan. Only within the last three years, 520,000 new jobs have been created. According to the 2006 indexes, the poverty level has decreased from 49% in 2003 to 20% today. GDP growth in 2006 was 35%. A New State Programme for 2007-2010 on Entrepreneurial Development and State programme on poverty reduction and sustainable development for 2006-2015 soon will be publicized; it emphasises minimum salary raises, pension provision improvement, poverty reduction, social welfare of refugees and IDPs.
82. This report highlights many areas in which significant advances have been made towards a democratic future in Georgia. This is not an exhaustive list, however. Rather, the focus falls on a few specific sectors in which the government of Georgia has concentrated its efforts. Georgia has experienced profound democratic changes after the Rose Revolution. Together with all the other branches of government, each acting within its sphere of competence, we are working in harmony to achieve this supreme goal. The guiding principles of this process are predictability, sustainability and continuity.
83. Unresolved conflicts on Georgian soil pose a major threat to sustainable democratic development in the country. Therefore, it is the number-one policy objective for the State to achieve the peaceful resolution of these conflicts and to restore Georgia's territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. Georgia's approach is to have a direct dialogue with Abkhaz and South Ossetian de facto authorities, impartial facilitators at the negotiations table, and impartial international policing on the ground.
A. SECURITY SECTOR REFORMS
84. Comprehensive reform of the security sector and the Georgian Armed Forces has been a major focus of the government of Georgia. The past two years have witnessed the modernization of Georgia's military and intelligence bodies. The aim has been to reinforce civilian control over these sectors in a way that reflects democratic governance.
85. The new reforms have helped set Georgia on a faster track toward NATO integration, which is Georgia's top national security and foreign policy goal. In 2004, Georgia became the first Partnership for Peace country to enter the NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan. The IPAP document sets out reform goals in a wide range of fields, including human rights, anti-corruption efforts, rule of law, civil-military relations, science, and the military.
86. In their recent IPAP assessment, NATO Allies concluded that "Georgia achieved considerable progress in the IPAP implementation process". In September 2006, in recognition of the success achieved by Georgia in its reforms, the Alliance agreed to extend Intensified Dialogue to Georgia. Georgia looks forward to the next stage of NATO integration and is working actively with partners and Allies to receive a Membership Action Plan. A Membership Action Plan will provide Georgia with positive encouragement, fuel the momentum of democratic institution-building, and further spur reform in the security sector. Both Intensified Dialogue and MAP will be the chief guiding frameworks for comprehensive reform of Georgia's security sector.
87. The National Security Concept of Georgia was approved in 2005 and is a consensus document that outlines the country's main values and prioritises national goals. According to the document, Georgia's fundamental security values are independence, freedom, democracy and the rule of law, prosperity, peace, and security. The annual review of such strategic level documents as National Military Strategy (NMS) and Threat Assessment Document (TAD) is ongoing according to the provisions of new Law on Defence Planning, adopted by the Parliament in April 2006.
88. As detailed in the Military Strategy of Georgia, military reform focuses on three main pillars:
- increasing the combat capabilities of the armed forces, so they are fully capable of addressing Georgia's main threats and challenges;
89. Among the main conceptual documents is the Minister's Vision 2007 that has been approved in December 2006 and is available on the website of the Ministry of Defence (MoD). This Vision determines the main priorities and directions of reforms of the Georgian MoD. The goals and objectives contained in this Vision are fully consistent with the National Security Concept and National Military Strategy.
91. The government takes seriously its responsibility to conduct sound reform in the area of defence. The General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces is being transformed into a Joint Staff structure. The Land Forces Command, created in 2006, manages land units more effectively. Important process of the Strategic Defence Review is at its final phase. The SDR will be accomplished in September 2007. The final version of the SDR was presented to NATO (on 26+1 meeting) by the Georgian MoD in June 2007. The document was assessed positively; Georgia has received important recommendations that will be considered before final approval of the SDR document.
92. Democratic methods and transparency are at the top of the government's security sector reform agenda. With the assistance of the MoD of the Kingdom of the Netherlands the Planning, Programming, Budgeting System (PPBS) implementation process has started. This process is of great importance for increasing the budgeting system efficiency and transparency. The PPBS will become operational in 2008.
93. In order to make civilian and military personnel management system more efficient, the Human Resource Management Concept was approved in 2006 and subsequently detailed action plans elaborated. The implementation of the process has been started and will continue through 2007-2008. The process is underway with the assistance of the United Kingdom, Dutch and US experts.
94. One of the top priorities of the security sector is participation of the Georgian troops in peacekeeping operations. Georgia had participated in Iraqi Freedom operation since 2003 and was planning to increase its contribution up to 2000 soldiers in the summer of 2007. The government also intends to send military units to ISAF in Afghanistan in near future. For the moment, the various ways of participation are discussed with Allies and partners countries. Apart from combat units, the Georgian military medical team will be sent to Afghanistan to the Lithuanian PRT in the fall of 2007. Simultaneously, the MoD of Georgia is working on elaboration of plans regarding the steady development of independent capability, in order to reach full logistical sustainability of our military forces in international operation areas and, especially, in Afghanistan.
95. In order to increase the awareness of society about ongoing processes held in the security sector and to enhance transparency and openness, Public and Media Relations Division was upgraded into Public Affairs Department in 2007 and the NATO Information Centre was activated.
96. As a result of the reforms in the armed forces, the number of recruits to the military service will gradually decrease and fully professional armed forces will be established with an effective reserve system. The relevant legislation is already enacted.
97. Possible events that could take place and contradict our country's vital interests in the near future were considered by the Georgian government. As a result, the Parliament of Georgia made amendments to the National Security Concept and total and unconditional defence approach was introduced.
98. Military educational system and language training opportunities for Georgian militaries have been notably improved since 2006; new training facilities and programmes were established. The further extension of the system and transformation of the Maintain Training School in Sachkhere into the PfP training center is planned.
99. A big part of the main military infrastructure was renovated or built. Old and obsolete military equipment was replaced or upgraded according to modern standards.
100. The MoD of Georgia is implementing the reforms in order to reach interoperability with NATO. Georgia is ready to join NATO ASDE (Air Situation Data Exchange) programme and the final stage of negotiations with NATO is in process. The improvement in maintenance and logistics resulted in system capability enhancement.
101. An Environment Protection Branch has been established in the J4 Department of the Joint Staff. The drafts of the Environmental Action Plan and Environmental Strategy are under consideration. The command chain of the Military Environmental Management System and Environmental Education System will be established by the end of 2007, including the C2 structure. In 2008, EMS C2 personnel trainings will also be conducted.
102. The government of Georgia undertook a comprehensive reform plan in 2004 that revamped, retrained, and re-equipped Georgia's police force. A comprehensive programme was implemented to rid the police forces of rampant corruption and create a new force endowed with a sense of societal duty and accountability. Salaries were raised tenfold and open, merit based competitions were established for hiring new officers. Corruption fell dramatically and public confidence in the police force soared; according to a recent poll conducted by Gallup and sponsored by the International Republican Institute (IRI), as of April 2006, 70% of the population has confidence in the new police force-compared to just 5% before the Rose Revolution.
103. The Parliament has amended Georgia's Criminal Code by redefining torture and inhumane treatment to comply with international human rights standards. The Criminal Proceedings Code ensures that courts void unjust plea agreements that violate the right to due process. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has issued several regulations to combat malpractice and abuse of power within the Ministry. One such protocol increases transparency by demanding the establishment of independent monitoring mechanisms, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry's newly-created Department of Human Rights and Monitoring.
C. JUDICIARY REFORMS
104. The government of Georgia considers judicial reform to be the linchpin in the continuing process of democratic transformation. As such, the government has prepared a comprehensive plan for the reform of Georgia's judicial branch, entitled the Criminal Justice Reform Strategy.
105. The plan will be carried out over the next four years, and the government has committed over $560 million to the programme. The reform strategy was developed in close consultation with experts and donors from the EU, OSCE, USAID, the Council of Europe, the American Bar Association, the German Organisation for Technical Cooperation [Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ)], the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the Department for International Development (DFID), the Norwegian Mission of Rule of Law Advisers to Georgia (NORLAG), and many other international organisations. In addition, more than 30 domestic civil society groups advised the government on the plan and will remain involved in the implementation process. This reform package is increasing the accountability and efficiency of the legal system, and grounding Georgia's democracy in the rule of law.
106. In reforming the criminal justice system, Western legal principles - such as the right to an adversarial trial and a prohibition on the use of illegally obtained evidence in court - have been adopted. A system of plea-bargaining has been introduced as a tool for fighting corruption and organised crime, as well as human rights abuses. A comprehensive package of legislation on witness protection has been passed by Parliament. In addition, Parliament ratified the Second Optional Protocol of the UN Convention Against Torture.
107. Priority has been placed on strengthening the independence of judges. Under the reformed system, judges are appointed for life and the High Council of Justice - the administrative and disciplinary body that selects and disciplines judges - have greater oversight. Moreover, the composition of the High Council of Justice has changed significantly. For the first time, it is mostly composed of members of judiciary and the Prosecutor General has been removed as a member. These changes were implemented on 1 June 2006.
108. According to the recent constitutional changes, the High Council of Justice will gain complete independence from the President. It will independently select, appoint, discipline, and suspend judges. The Council will no longer be an advisory body to the President and instead will be considered an independent institution within the judicial system, in charge of providing administration for judicial bodies.
109. The ongoing reforms have rationalized the system and encouraged the specialization of judges. The reforms also increase the processing speed of cases in court, which means that the problem of overload is being systematically resolved.
110. The aforementioned objectives of timely trials and access to justice were key factors in the decision to introduce magistrate judges to handle cases of pre-trial detention and other similar measures. Magistrate judges - who deal with less serious civil, criminal and administrative cases - will reduce caseload and ensure speedy trials. The magistrate system constitutes part of the District Court and enforces judicial authority in the administrative-territorial unit where the enlarged District Court is not present. Meanwhile, the number of pre-trial detentions in lower courts, and convictions in both appellate and cassation courts, have decreased. Notably, use of bail during the pre-trial period has increased up to 50%. The new Criminal Proceedings Code, which takes effect in 2007, incorporates the jury process as an essential component of criminal trials. In one of the most recent changes, out-of-court statements can no longer be taken as evidence during trials.
111. In the penitentiary system, the government is currently instituting large-scale reforms designed to end human rights abuses and combat the prevalence of organised crime. A complete overhaul of all prison facilities is underway, and will bring them into compliance with international standards. In 2006, the government built two new prisons that meet rigorous international standards. In addition, in 2007-2010 the government plans to build new and refurbish all existing prisons with the same standards. By the end of 2007, there will be capacity for 19,862 inmates, while experts forecast that there will be approximately 18,000 inmates in all penitentiary institutions.
D. ECONOMIC REFORMS
112. The liberalization and deregulation of the business environment has been another priority. More than 90% of existing license requirements have been abolished, while the remaining licensing has been streamlined. This has drastically reduced the time businesses must invest in dealing with the State, while also reducing opportunities for corruption. Internal and external monitoring also have helped slash corruption. In the Transition Report 2005 of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Georgia ranks second among the countries with "Transition Economies" in terms of improvements related to corruption.
113. The decisive progress made by Georgia in reducing corruption, improving administration, and liberalizing the business environment was reflected in the World Bank's 2006 report Doing Business. Georgia was recognized as the number-one reformer in the world. Meanwhile, in the index of business attractiveness, Georgia jumped an extraordinary 75 places in one year - from 112th to 37th in the world. Earlier, in 2005, for the first time ever, Standard and Poor's assigned Georgia a sovereign credit rating of B+ with outlook "positive". It is noteworthy that according to the Heritage Foundation's Economic Freedom Index 2006 report, Georgia has advanced by 28 places forward vis-à-vis the 2005 results, and moved from "mainly non-free" to "mainly free" category.
E. MAIN ECONOMIC ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2006
114. 2006 was distinguished in terms of economic development. The high economic growth was maintained and the GDP of the year 2006 has increased by 27% compared to the year 2003. The State budget of the year 2006 has increased by the 284% compared to the year 2003. The exchange rate of Georgian currency (the Lari) has remained stable throughout 2006 year. The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of the year 2006 has increased by the 237.4% compared to the year 2003, amounting to approximately 14.8% of the GDP.
115. Essential growth was evidenced in the banking sector. "Bank of Georgia" was listed at the London Stock Exchange. In 2006, the foreign trade turnover of Georgia increased by 39% and reached $4.7 billion. The volume of export, which became more diversified, increased by 14.5% and import - by 47.5%.
116. The Law on State Support to Investments entered into force, which is an additional incentive for attracting investments to Georgia.
117. A new liberal Labour Code, which is targeted at legalization of labour relations and creating incentives for employment in private sector, was developed and enacted.
118. The trade regime in Georgia became one of the most liberalized and competitive trade regimes in the world. Namely, there are 3 tariff rates (0%, 5% and 12%) instead of previous 16%. Import tariffs are abolished on almost 90% of goods.
119. The new Customs Code, effective from January 2007, is an important step towards reducing corruption at customs, streamlining customs procedures and bringing them in compliance with international standards.
120. The country liberalized its transport and transit rules and increased the level of investment in the transport sector, most notably, in construction of a new highway and starting a new railway connection with Turkey, thus linking the South Caucasus and further Central Asian railway network to that of Europe. More than $90 million in private funds were invested in the two international airports of Tbilisi and Batumi, which opened in 2007.
121. Since the end of 2003, the energy sector underwent thorough institutional and economic reforms. As a result of eradicating corruption in this field, income gained by the consumed electricity has drastically increased. For the first time since independence, Georgia enjoys 24 hour electricity and natural gas supply. The years 2006 and 2007 were marked by putting into operation two major energy infrastructure projects: Baku-Tbilisi-Ceihan oil pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum natural gas pipeline (this allows Georgia not to be dependent only on Russian gas). Notably, Kazakhstan has also joined these projects, increasing their importance.
122. In 2006, the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) process has taken major steps forward. In particular, the Basic Data and Directions included for the first time:
- the Medium-Term Action Plan of the government of Georgia for the years 2007-2010, outlining the strategies and priorities at the national level.
F. PRIVATISATION AND STATE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
123. The total planned income from privatisation in 2006 amounted about $190 million and the actual income - $270 million (12 months).
124. Privatisation of agricultural land has started. It is planned to initiate a gradual privatisation of natural resources and forests.
G. FINAL OBSERVATIONS
125. Georgia is firmly committed to its declared goal of NATO membership. This is truly a nationwide aspiration confirmed both through adoption of Memorandum of Parliamentary Factions and Political Parties signed by both the majority and the opposition, and polls conducted by the Gallup Organisation, indicating that 83% of the population supports NATO membership. NATO Parliamentary Assembly could prove indispensable in bridging societies of NATO member states and Georgia and transforming the current partnership into a political asset for promoting Georgia's NATO membership.
1 Available at the NATO PA website at http://www.nato-pa.int/Default.asp?SHORTCUT=998