NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told President Salome Zurabishvili on January 23 that Georgia is “a unique partner of the Alliance,” and that NATO-Georgia partnership is “getting even closer.”
Zurabishvili met Stoltenberg on January 23 as part of fer first official visit to Brussels. At a joint press points following their meeting, the NATO SG hailed Georgia’s “strong contributions” to the shared security.
“You are one of the largest troop contributors to our training mission in Afghanistan. You also contribute to the NATO Response Force and in March, you will host a joint NATO-Georgia exercise,” Stoltenberg said, adding that at today’s meeting the two “agreed to continue working together to prepare Georgia for NATO membership.”
Stolrenberg reiterated NATO’s support for Georgia’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders “which includes the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” and called on Russia “to end its recognition of and withdraw its forces from both regions.”
“NATO’s partnership with Georgia makes us all safer and all more secure. And I look forward to working with you as Georgia moves closer to NATO membership,” Stoltenberg underscored.
We’re stepping up our cooperation at sea:
▶️ Training 🇬🇪 Coast Guard boarding teams
▶️ More cooperation between 🇬🇪 & NATO naval forces
▶️ Cooperation between 🇬🇪 Joint Maritime Ops Centre & @NATO_MARCOM pic.twitter.com/KTJkQ50N9H
— Oana Lungescu (@NATOpress) January 23, 2019
On her part, President Zurabishvili stated that her visit to Brussels is “another demonstration of how important our links with NATO are,” which also reflects the choice of the Georgian population. “It is why we have enshrined in the Georgian constitution this Georgian commitment to enter NATO and the EU and that remains a top foreign policy priority and it will be one of the priorities of my mandate for six years,” she said.
Zurabishvili also noted that Georgia has proved that it is a “very reliable” and “a capable” partner of NATO, which is “delivering sometimes more than other members.”
“Georgia is really trying to be a model partner for NATO and we are also taking note of the increased professionalism and dedication of our military servicemen and thanks also to the operations that we are contributing to because that is two way road: we are contributing… but we are getting also quite a lot in exchange,” Zurabishvili said.