A day ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels on July 11-12, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said “NATO’s door is and remains open.”
Speaking at a press conference on July 10, Stoltenberg hailed Georgia’s progress on reforms and on strengthening its defense and security institutions, but noted that he could not give “a specific timeline” for Georgia’s accession into the Alliance.
“The fact that both Montenegro has joined and that we most likely will decide tomorrow to invite the former Yogoslav Republic of Macedonia to start accession talks, shows that NATO’s door is open, and we will continue to support Georgia on its way towards membership,” Jens Stoltenbegr noted.
In his address, Stoltenberg also underscored that on Thursday, the NATO leaders will meet with the Presidents of Georgia and Ukraine, “two of our closest partners” and that together they would address regional challenges, and also “discuss their defense reforms and NATO’s continuing support.”
On Thursday, we’ll meet w/ the Presidents of #Georgia & #Ukraine. Together we’ll address regional challenges, their defence reforms & #NATO’s continuing support – SG @jensstoltenberg pic.twitter.com/W0zdm2fYvf
— Oana Lungescu (@NATOpress) July 10, 2018
Kay Bailey Hutchison, the United States Permanent Representative to NATO also emphasized on July 10 that the U.S. “appreciates very much” Georgia’s partnership with NATO, and that the country is “one of our enhanced partners. A very special category.”
“We hope in another time as we move forward that eventually we would love for Georgia to be a member of NATO if they choose to do so,” Hutchison stated.
Margvelashvili and Stoltenberg will meet on July 12, followed by a joint statement and a meeting of the North Atlantic Council with Georgia and Ukraine at the level of heads of state. According to the President’s press office, Margvelashvili will also hold bilateral talks, discussing NATO-Georgia relations, as well as the country’s defense capabilities.