Stoltenberg Meets PM Bakhtadze, Promises NATO Support to Georgia

Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia, paid his first official visit to Brussels as the PM of the country on July 18-20.

The PM was hosted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who praised Georgia’s carried out and planned reforms and vowed to support the country.

Parties discussed all the key issues within the scope of the integration of Georgia to NATO, including the results of the NATO Summit held in Brussels last week and ways to implement the decisions made at the milestone event.

It was highlighted that the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP), like the new areas of cooperation, significantly increases the defense capacity and resistance of the country. It also brings the country closer to accession to NATO.

Attention was paid to the significant past and planned steps of the Government of Georgia towards approximation with the North Atlantic Alliance standards.

The Secretary General of NATO once again noted the solid support of the Alliance towards the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia.

He also thanked the Prime Minister of Georgia for the contribution of the country to the Euro-Atlantic security, especially in the current NATO operations in Afghanistan.

After the meeting, the sides made an official statement for the press, seeing Stoltenberg underline that Georgia has for many years been one of the largest force contributors to the resolute support mission, and Georgian peacekeepers were helping NATO fight terrorism.

“I also appreciate the fact that [Georgia is] running exercises together with the NATO troops. I have met the Georgian troops both in Afghanistan and during NATO exercises. The fact that you are part of the NATO response force shows that your troops and forces meet the highest standards of NATO and are able to participate in NATO exercises, missions and operations,” he stated.

Stoltenberg noted that at the Alliance Summit last week, all 29 allies reaffirmed that Georgia will become a member of NATO.

“We fully support Georgia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations…We continue to work with you to prepare for membership. Georgia has made impressive progress on reforms, including on economic development, more effective security and defense institutions and modernizing your armed forces,” he said.

In addition, the NATO Secretary General spoke about the recent developments in Georgia’s Russian-occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and called on the Russian Federation to withdraw its forces from the regions.

“NATO supports Georgia's security and its territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. This includes the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We call on Russia to withdraw its forces from the country,” he said.

Bakhtadze thanked Stoltenberg for his support and noted that Georgia will continue its contribution to common Euro-Atlantic security.

“We are enhancing our cooperation on Black Sea Security. We will have a more active naval cooperation as well as extended mutual situational awareness…Together with the assistance provided by NATO, the reforms successfully implemented by Georgia will contribute to our ultimate goal to become a full member of NATO,” the PM said.

By Thea Morrison

19 July 2018 19:10