NATO Heads of State and Governments participating in the NATO Summit in Vilnius issued a Communiqué, focusing on the main issues and challenges facing the Alliance.
Concerning Georgia, the Communiqué reiterated the Allies’ commitment to the 2008 Bucharest Summit Decision that Georgia will become a member of the Alliance with the Membership Action Plan as an integral part of the process; the Allies reaffirm all elements of that decision.
The Alliance reiterated its support to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders and “stands firm” in its support for “Georgia’s right to decided its own future and foreign policy course free from outside interference.”
They also once again called on Russia to “reverse its recognition the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia, to end the militarization of these regions and continued attempts to forcibly separate them from the rest of Georgia through the construction of border-like obstacles.”
NATO also demanded that Russia “cease the human rights violations and abuses, including arbitrary detentions, and harassments of Georgian citizens.”
The Allies stated: “We highly appreciate Georgia’s substantial contributions to NATO operations, which demonstrate its commitment and capability to contribute to Euro-Atlantic security.”
They noted they also remain committed “to making full use of the NATO-Georgia Commission and the Annual National Program (ANP) in deepening political dialogue and practical cooperation with Georgia.”
The Communiqué welcomed the progress made in implementing the enhanced Substantial NATO-Georgia Package and noted that to advance its Euro-Atlantic aspirations, Georgia must progress on reforms, including key democratic reforms, and make the best use of the ANP.
“Georgia is a steadfast NATO Enhanced Opportunities partner. It’s a category reserved for NATO’s closest partners,” said Matthew Miller, Spokesperson for the US Department of State.
“On the United States’ behalf, we continue to support Georgia’s NATO aspirations,” he added.
Miller was asked about the reason for the absence of Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, at the Vilnius Summit. In particular, he was asked: “There are reports that the Georgian prime minister was told not to show up in Vilnius due to his criticism of NATO over Ukrainian war. Is that true?”
“I’m just not aware of that,” Miller replied.
On Thursday, US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan noted: “The message of the Vilnius summit was clear. The door of NATO is open for Georgia and Ukraine. It is up to Georgia to fulfill the recommendations and implement reforms which are needed for EU membership too.”