Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria paid a visit to the United States on May 16-22. On May 17, Izoria met with Admiral Manfred Nielson, NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (NATO ACT), one of the Alliance’s military commands responsible for trainings.
According to the NATO ACT, Nielson and Izoria discussed NATO’s support to Georgia’s defense transformation and spoke on how to expand the scope of joint exercises, which have “proven to be a significant milestone in strengthening NATO-Georgia military-political cooperation.”
Speaking after the meeting, Izoria said the two noted “positive dynamics” in NATO-Georgia exercises. “We had a significant progress in 2016-2019; we took more responsibility as a NATO partner state to plan and carry out these drills and today we had an opportunity to discuss the next NATO-Georgia exercise which will be larger in scale and will involve amphibious and land components,” he said.
He also noted that these are “concrete” plans aimed at deepening NATO-Georgia practical cooperation, “giving us a solid ground to prepare the country for eventual membership.”
On May 20, the Georgian defense Minister met with the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, John C. Rood, at the Pentagon, with the two officials discussing “regional security and a broad range of topics, including joint operations in Afghanistan,” according to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).
The DOD also noted that Rood reaffirmed U.S. commitment to Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and underscored the importance of defense cooperation. He also expressed appreciation for Georgia’s “top per capita force contributions” in Afghanistan, and commended the country’s defense reform efforts. The two also reviewed future acquisitions and training opportunities.
In his press remarks after the meeting, Minister Izoria said the two countries will sign a new, three-year defense cooperation agreement this autumn. “This will enable us to get closer to NATO and with this, the country will be more prepared to become a member of NATO,” the Minister noted.