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Visit of Minister of Defence of Netherlands

Thursday, April 3
The Netherlands and Georgia will enhance cooperation in the defence sphere. This decision was made during the official visit of the Dutch Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert to Georgia.

Defence Minister of Georgia Irakli Alasania hosted his counterpart Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaerts at the Defence Ministry. At the official welcoming ceremony the MoD Military Band performed the national anthems of Georgia and the Netherlands.

Within the first official visit to Georgia, the Defence Ministers of Georgia and the Netherlands held the meeting at the MoD of Georgia. The sides discussed bilateral cooperation issues. The Georgian Defence Ministry is enhancing relations with their Dutch colleagues in the defence planning process, post traumatic rehabilitation issues and the training of military police personnel. Irakli Alasania introduced his Dutch counterpart to the fulfilled and ongoing reforms within the Georgian Defence Ministry. The ministers also referred to Georgia’s NATO membership, as well as Georgia’s contribution to the NATO-led ISAF mission, engagement in “Resolute Support” mission beyond 2014 and the NRF in 2015. The signature of the Association Agreement was one of the main topics at the meeting.

The Georgian Defence Minister expressed gratitude to Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaerts for the political support of Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. The sides talked about regional security issues as well.

“During the meeting we talked about bilateral defence cooperation. Our military cooperation with the Netherlands will deepen and [will be] enhanced. We referred to the directions both sides are interested in, including institutional support to Georgia, as well as experience-sharing in peacekeeping and international operations. The Netherlands is a very good partner for Georgia and expresses its firm support for Georgia’s integration into Euro-Atlantic membership. We also referred to the existing situation, regional security issues, circumstances in the Ukraine and Crimea. Georgia and the Netherlands agree that each conflict should be resolved by political dialogue.

We also would like to accelerate Georgia’s integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. I’d like to express gratitude to my Dutch counterpart for her official visit to Georgia and firm support on Georgia’s territorial integrity,” stated Irakli Alasania.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaerts thanked the Georgian side for the hospitality: “Your country is beautiful. I very much enjoyed my stay here. We discussed a number of issues .We discussed our bilateral cooperation. Both of us are very eager to boost or strengthen bilateral cooperation on a number of issues. One very interesting area in particular is the psychological rehabilitation of our soldiers, if they return from a military operation. But we also have a number of other areas identified like the training of the Special Forces, military police training and other things. We also discussed the progress made by Georgia on its path to NATO membership. I am very pleased to see that the progress has been made and one day Georgia is going to be a NATO member without a doubt. The progress report will be discussed or will be published in June. We also discussed the international situation. I’d like to say that cool heads must prevail. Political dialogue is the only way forward. But we have to work together. And one of the specific fields of cooperation is to boost military cooperation within NATO and with our partner countries, as this is the only way to enhance our military ability to act… reassurance and deterrence is going to be important. I think it’s a very clear message to all of us in this region.”

Hennis-Plasschaerts paid a tribute to the heroes fallen fighting for Georgian territorial integrity at Heroes’ Square. The defence minister of the Netherlands held a minute of silence for their memory and laid a wreath at the Heroes’ Memorial.