Freshly-appointed Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze held a phone talk today with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, discussing bilateral strategic cooperation.
According to the Ministry of Defense of Georgia, Minister Burchuladze stressed the importance of the new Biden-Harris Administration’s support for Georgia, amid threats from Russia, and underscored Tbilisi’s commitment to strategic relations with the U.S., as well as to the country’s Euro-Atlantic path.
Moreover, the Georgian Defense Minister noted that high-level meetings with U.S. officials, joint military exercises, and U.S. support in region demonstrate “unwavering strategic partnership” between the two countries.
The parties also discussed U.S.-Georgia joint military programs, including the Georgian Defense Readiness Program, the Georgian Defense Ministry added.
Moreover, Defense Minister Burchuladze and Defense Secretary Austin discussed long-term security cooperation plans, “which clearly define the long-term development priorities of the Georgian Defense Forces in accordance with NATO standards.” Underscoring the U.S. support for the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, the parties also talked about the prospects for expanding cooperation, Georgia’s Defense Ministry reported.
On its part, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) said the Secretary reaffirmed America’s support for “Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, as well DoD’s commitment to helping Georgia develop its defense capabilities in the face of Russian aggression and malign influence.”
According to DoD, “both leaders noted the strength and enduring nature of the U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership, which is based on shared interests and values.”
The DoD statement also noted that Secretary Austin thanked Minister Burchuladze for Georgia’s contribution to the Resolute Support Mission and for “the sacrifices made by Georgian troops in Afghanistan.”
“Both leaders agreed that the close bilateral security cooperation between the U.S. and Georgia must be sustained, with future cooperation building upon the gains achieved in recent years,” DoD concluded.