NATO Sec Gen’s Annual Report Includes Georgia
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg released an annual report for 2016 stating Georgia is one of the most valuable partners of the Alliance. The report was published on March 13 and aims to show how in 2016 NATO “took further steps to keep our almost one billion citizens safe”. It also highlights how NATO is adapting to the new security environment by strengthening its collective defense and projecting stability beyond its borders.
The report says that Georgia is an aspirant country and one of the main partners of the Alliance and contributors to NATO peacekeeping missions.
Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) released a statement in response, saying that the NATO Secretary General mentions Georgia in the context of the NATO Open Door Policy. According to Stoltenberg, NATO’s Open Door Policy is a founding principle of the Washington Treaty and one of the Alliance’s greatest successes. Since its foundation in 1949, NATO has grown from 12 members to 28.
“NATO’s door remains open to those countries that want to join and that meet the criteria of membership. Work continues with other countries that aspire to join the Alliance – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – to help them prepare for NATO membership. NATO has a strong program of cooperation with each aspiring member state to help it carry out the reforms necessary for membership,” the report reads.
The report also reviews the implementation of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, specifically the provisions for building Georgia’s defense capacity.
“The package includes the establishment of a Joint Training and Evaluation Center, a Defense Institution Building School, and a Logistics Facility. It also provides expert advice in the areas of acquisition, strategic and operational plans, special operations forces, military police, cyber defense, maritime security, aviation, air defense and strategic communications. The package also covers support and contributions to NATO exercises in Georgia, which are open to partners,” the report reads.
Stoltenberg also says that at the Warsaw Summit in 2016, NATO leaders agreed on additional practical ways to intensify capacity-building support to Georgia, including supporting Georgia’s crisis management capabilities.
“The Partnership Interoperability Initiative also offers specific partners enhanced opportunities for deeper cooperation. Five partners (Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan and Sweden) currently have access to enhanced cooperation, which includes tailored consultation on security matters and close participation in exercises. All five Enhanced Opportunities Partners participated at the NATO Summit in Warsaw,” the report reads.
The document also highlights Georgia’s significant contribution to international security, saying Georgia is the biggest contributor among the non-member countries with 870 military servicemen involved in the mission.