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NATO Secretary General opens NATO-Georgian joint training centre

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, August 28
The top official of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Tbilisi on August 26 on his first official visit to meet with Georgian Officials and to open a NATO-Georgian joint training centre in the Krtsanisi Military Facility outside Tbilisi on August 27. He was accompanied by the NATO Special Representative in South Caucasus and central Asia, James Appathurai.

Stoltenberg met with Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili and discussed a full spectrum of issues concerning NATO integration and planned steps towards such goal as well as preparations for the Warsaw summit and implementation of the Wales summit substantial package.

“Jens Stoltenberg noted that MAP should not be perceived as the only indicator of progress, as an active NATO presence in Georgia is more important,” Georgia’s First Deputy Foreign Minister, Davit Dondua, stated after a meeting.

Georgia’s Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli also held a meeting with Jens Stoltenberg. The Secretary General arrived at the Defense Ministry from Heroes Square where he paid tribute to those fallen for Georgia’s territorial integrity. Head of the General Staff of the Georgian Armed forces, Vakhtang Kapanadze also attended the meeting.

After consultations at the Defense Ministry, Jens Stoltenberg met with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, and held a joint press-conference.

The parties discussed NATO integration issues and assessed the achieved progress. It was emphasized that Georgia has made significant steps in terms of being closer to NATO standards.

“I have provided the Secretary General with information about the situation in Georgia’s occupied territories and our pragmatic steps made in response. I would like to thank the Secretary General for supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and its restoration. I would also like to express my gratitude for him praising Georgian soldiers’ professionalism,” the PM said.

According to the Secretary General, Georgia has all the necessary instruments to move forward.

“This is real progress, which is very significant for the country. This is a path towards membership,” Jens Stoltenberg remarked.

After the press conference the parties moved to the Krtsanisi Military Facility and opened NATO-Georgian joint training centre.

At the ceremony, Jens Stoltenberg stated that after opening the joint training centre, Georgia will be more compatible with NATO, and NATO will be more present in Georgia.

“Georgia's contribution to international security has increased; by opening this centre, NATO keeps its promise to support Georgia,” Secretary General said.

Prime Minister Gharibashvili stressed that the opening of the Joint Training and Evaluation Centre in Georgia would not be directed against any third party but would only be focused on creating regional and global security.