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NATO Secretary General: Georgia-NATO relations are deepening

The Georgia-NATO Commission meeting reaffirmed that Georgia is a very close and strong partner of NATO, the Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced at the press-conference following the meeting today.

Stoltenberg noted that NATO-Georgia relations were very strong and were further deepening.

NATO is committed to help Georgia make its defence more modern, and thereby enable Georgia to move closer to NATO membership. We have put together a team of experts to advise the Georgian authorities on defence reforms,” he said.

Stoltenberg also talked about the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre to be opened in Tbilisi in the near future.

There, NATO troops, Georgian troops and forces from partner nations will train and exercise together. So this training centre is important for Georgia because they are going to train their troops there. It is important for NATO because we are going to train our troops there. And it is important for several partner countries which will also be able to train their troops in the new training centre in Georgia. And more than a dozen NATO Allies are contributing to these efforts. Several of them announced contributions during the meeting today,” he noted.

The Secretary General also stressed that it was a clear signal of NATO’s strong commitment to Georgia.

Jens Stoltenberg then thanked Georgia for its significant contribution to the NATO mission in Afhanistan and other international operations.

That just underlines that Georgia is contributing a lot to NATO operations, to our shared security. And this is what we are developing further by implementing the substantial package and by establishing the training centre,” he said.

Stoltenberg also welcomed Georgia’s “steady progress” in implementing reforms and the positive trends in the country’s democratic development.

“We encourage Georgia to continue on this path. To consolidate democratic institutions, take forward judicial reforms, and ensure full respect for the rule of law,” he said.

NATO Secretary General also underlined Georgia’s active role in the Geneva talks on the Georgia-Russian conflict and criticised Russia for not doing the same.

“Georgia is also playing an active and very constructive role in the Geneva talks on the conflict on its territories. But unfortunately, that is not what Russia is doing. Just the opposite,” he said.

Stoltenberg condemned the steps taken by Russia in Georgia, in particular the recent signature of the so-called ‘Alliance and Strategic Partnership’ treaty with the break-away Abkhazia region of Georgia and the preparations for signing the similar ‘agreement’ with another breakaway region of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).

Such steps are a violation of Russia’s international obligations and commitments. They contradict the principles of international law and they are part of a disturbing pattern of destabilising Russian behaviour in its neighbourhood,” he said.

We reaffirm our strong support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognised borders. We once again call on Russia to reverse its recognition of these two regions of Georgia as independent states and to pull back its forces from Georgia. This is and remains NATO’s clear position,” Jens Stoltenberg announced.

Watch opening remarks by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during the press conference held at the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers.