NATO Chief Visits Georgia

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is on a visit to Georgia on March 18, in the framework of his three-day visit to the South Caucasus states.

The Secretary General Stoltenberg arrived to Tbilisi from Azerbaijan. He met with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili and Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze.

Meeting with Georgian Prime Minister

According to the Georgian Government’s press release, the meeting between PM Kobakhidze and Jens Stoltenberg focused on Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration, and the agenda of NATO-Georgia relations, as well as the future prospects of cooperation. The discussions also focused on the Black Sea security, its importance and its stability “for ensuring common Euro-Atlantic security.”

Prime Minister Kobakhidze thanked the NATO Secretary General for his support and personal commitment to Georgia’s integration into the Alliance, as well as for his support of Georgia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and policy of non-recognition.

“Glad to host Jens Stoltenberg, a good friend of Georgia in Tbilisi. As an aspirant nation, Georgia has consistently demonstrated its commitment as a reliable and capable partner of NATO, enhancing shared Euro-Atlantic security. Grateful for the Secretary General’s personal support and dedication in moving forward Georgia’s NATO integration process,” PM Kobakhidze tweeted after the meeting.

Joint Press Point

After the meeting, the sides made statements for press at a joint press point.

PM Kobakhidze thanked Secretary General Stoltenberg for his support of Georgia and its aspirations. “NATO remains the main guarantor of security in the world,” he emphasized. He also thanked the Secretary General and NATO for supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

“Georgia is one of the Alliance’s loyal partners,” said PM Kobakhidze. Referring to Georgia’s participation in NATO-led operations, PM Kobakhidze stressed that the country “has made an important contribution to the strengthening of common Euro-Atlantic security.” He added: “NATO, for its part, has played and continues to play an important role in the development of Georgia’s defense capabilities.”

PM Kobakhidze spoke about the changing security environment in Europe and noted that “in this difficult environment, the international community must demonstrate unity and firm commitment to the principles of international law.”

PM Kobakhidze once again thanked the NATO Secretary General for his visit to Georgia, saying that it was another very strong confirmation of his support for Georgia.

“Georgia is one of NATO’s closest partners,” Stoltenberg said, adding: “We greatly appreciate your substantial contributions to NATO nations and operations.” He also reiterated NATO’s full support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. “South Ossetia and Abkhazia are part of Georgia,” he said.

The Secretary General condemned the fact that Russia’s recent presidential elections were held in the occupied territories of Georgia and Ukraine, calling them “completely illegal.” He added: “Russia’s presidential elections was clearly neither free nor fair.”

Jens Stoltenberg emphasized that “Georgia faces complex security challenges” in the face of Russia’s “imperial ambitions” and Ukraine’s “difficult situation” on the battlefield. “So, it is vital that we continue to step up our support,” he said, stressing that “NATO allies provide 99 percent of all military aid to Ukraine,” adding that the NATO partners also play a “key role.”

The Secretary General welcomed Georgia’s contribution in hosting Ukrainian refugees and providing “crucial” humanitarian and financial assistance.

The NATO chief also said that during the meeting with the Georgian Prime Minister, the sides discussed the security of the Black Sea, “which matters for both, Georgian and for NATO.” He also stressed that the risks posed by Russia threaten the world’s food supply. Meanwhile, he noted that Ukraine, with NATO support, has pushed back and succeeded, leading to the resumption of grain exports.

“NATO’s partnership with Georgia is already strong,” the Secretary General said, noting that the meeting discussed ways to further strengthen it. He welcomed the progress made in various areas, mentioning in particular crisis management, cybersecurity and military technology.

“NATO stands by your side as you continue your path towards stronger democracy and full Euro-Atlantic integration, including the 2008 Bucharest decision that Georgia will become the member of the NATO alliance,” Stoltenberg said.

The NATO chief also stressed the importance of granting Georgia EU candidate status, saying: “What you do to move toward EU membership goes hand in hand with efforts to become a NATO Ally.”

Finally, he underscored the importance for Georgia to strengthen domestic reforms, democratic values and the rule of law, “including through free and fair parliamentary elections in October this year,” he said.

Meeting with Georgian President

Following the meeting with PM Kobakhidze, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili.

According to the press release of the President’s administration, the parties discussed the process of Georgia’s integration into the European and Euro-Atlantic structures and the country’s progress on this path.

The discussions focused on the war in Ukraine, Russia’s aggression and the importance and necessity of the international community’s solidarity with Ukraine. Against the background of the war in Ukraine and Russia’s aggression, the sides stressed the importance of the security of the Black Sea.

The NATO chief reiterated his unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

During the meeting they also discussed the Russian elections in the occupied territories of Georgia. President Zurabishvili emphasized that this was a “flagrant violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and a complete contradiction of international norms.”

President Zurabishvili emphasized the situation in the occupied territories, focusing on the issues of transfer of Bichvinta land to Russia, Russia’s plan to open a permanent military naval base in Ochamchire and Sokhumi airport.

“Good meetings with President Salome Zurabishvili and PM Irakli Kobakhidze on NATO’s deeply valued partnership with Georgia. We support your sovereignty and territorial integrity – and we support your efforts to strengthen your democracy, and achieve full Euro-Atlantic integration,” Secretary General Stoltenberg tweeted after his visit to Georgia.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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