NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze to NATO Headquarters on Wednesday. The Secretary General praised Georgia’s contributions to the Alliance’s training mission in Afghanistan and the NATO Response Force.
He also reiterated NATO’s support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. “At the Summit last week, all 29 Allies reaffirmed that Georgia will become a member of NATO. This is in line with the decision we made at our Bucharest Summit in 2008,” he said.
Mr. Stoltenberg underlined that NATO will continue to help Georgia to prepare for membership and welcomed the country’s reform progress. He noted that the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package is bolstering Georgia’s defence reforms, including with the NATO-Georgia Joint Training Centre. “I also expect broad Allied participation in next year’s NATO-Georgia exercise,” he said.
The Secretary General and Prime Minister Bakhtadze also discussed the security situation in the Black Sea and Russia’s substantial military build-up in the region. “The Black Sea is of strategic importance and NATO and Georgia are stepping up our cooperation in the area,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.
The Alliance is helping to train Georgian Coast Guard boarding teams, interacting with Georgian naval forces and cooperating with Georgia’s Joint Maritime Operations Centre.
The Secretary General stressed that NATO is united in support for Georgia’s security and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, adding: “we call on Russia to withdraw its forces from your country.”
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