Rasmussen: NATO is following developments in Georgia with great concern

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NATO is following recent developments in Georgia with great concern, Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during a news conference after the meeting of NATO defense ministers in Strasbourg on 5 June.

In response to a journalists question about a recent arrest of the opposition leader and former prime minister Vano Merabishvili, the NATO Secretary General said:

"We are following these developments with great concern. Obviously we are not going to interfere with legal cases and the judiciary in Georgia. In today's meeting with Georgian Minister of Defense, I made clear and the ministers made clear that we take it for granted that the Georgian authorities will fully respect the fundamental principles of the rule of law and will guarantee due process. We have made clear that even the perception of politically motivated arrests should be avoided and we expect Georgia to live up to those fundamental principles."

On 3 June, the NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, told Tabula in Tbilisi that before discussing the possibility of granting the Membership Action Plan to Georgia, the country must answer questions that have emerged regarding the arrests of former senior officials.

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