Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg met with Georgian students yesterday, and said the Russia-Georgia war of 2008 signified a new phase for the alliance.
NATO started by Russia-Georgia war”
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, September 9
About 50 students from Georgia’s higher educational institutions had the opportunity to meet Stoltenberg at Georgia’s National Parliamentary Liberally in Tbilisi earlier today and ask direct questions.
In his opening statement, Stoltenberg stated he first visited Georgia in 1985 in a very difficult time “when Europe was divided by armies, by walls and by values.”
Stoltenberg stressed since then much has been changed, and Georgia was irreversibly progressing towards the Euro-Atlantic space, sharing common values such as democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of the media, independence of the judiciary and protection of minority rights.
The Secretary General highlighted that since its foundation in 1949, the alliance has undergone several phases.
“For our first 40 years, NATO was focused on collective defence,” he said.
Stoltenberg stated with the Cold War receding into the past, NATO had entered a new phase.
“Our mission evolved from pure collective defence to include what we call crisis management. For the first time, NATO sought to manage conflicts beyond our territory,” he said.
“Now, we are in a third important phase of NATO’s evolution, which in some ways began to take shape when Russia used military force here in Georgia in 2008.
“Since then, Russia has kept unwanted troops in the Republic of Moldova and illegally annexed Crimea,” Stoltenberg stressed.
Stoltenberg stated NATO was taking significant steps to increase stability in eastern and southern neighbourhood.
“Because, if our neighbours are more stable, we are more secure. In the east, we have reaffirmed our commitment to Ukraine, to the Republic of Moldova and to Georgia,” he said.
Stoltenberg said he knew Georgians were waiting for the NATO membership.
“We always advise aspirant members that the process of joining NATO takes time and patience. NATO has been working very closely with Georgia to assist your country on the path to eventual membership,” he said.