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Stoltenberg Vows Georgia Will Become NATO Member

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, July 13
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg stated the relationship between the alliance with Georgia is unique, adding the country will become a NATO member.

Stoltenberg made the statement at the joint press conference with the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili, after the officials held a meeting as a part of the NATO Brussels Summit, held on July 11-12.

Jens Stoltenberg thanked Margvelashvili for active cooperation.

“NATO’s relationship with Georgia is unique; you are the most important operational partner for the alliance and a trusted friend. Our partnerships make NATO and Georgia safer and more secure. We are grateful for Georgia’s continuous contributions to our Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and recognize the sacrifices that Georgian people are making for our shared security. We fully support Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Georgia will become a member of NATO; ally leaders reaffirmed this and we will continue to work with you to prepare for membership,” the Secretary General stated.

Stoltenberg added he is impressed by the progress Georgia achieved in terms of reforms, adding the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package is bolstering the country’s defense reform efforts.

“NATO supports Georgia’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders which includes the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Finally, we congratulate you on your commitment matched NATO guideline of spending 2% of GDP on defense. Mr. President, Georgia, thank you again for being here with all the NATO leaders. The relationship between NATO and your country is stronger than ever,” he said.

President Margvelashvili thanked Secretary General for putting much effort into advancing Georgia’s future in Euro-Atlantic community.

He underlined that as a reliable partner of the alliance, Georgia contributes to Euro-Atlantic stability and is one of the major contributors to the Resolute Support Mission.

“I can proudly state that we are the major contributor to the entire RSM mission where we are enhancing our NATO-Black Sea security dialogue and we are happy because the Black Sea is so important and Georgia’s engagement in this context, I believe, will be bringing more security and stability to the region,” he added.

The President said NATO and Georgia have exceptional practical cooperation, including the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, adding Georgia is set forward to enhance this cooperation in the counter-mobility, secure communications and cyber defense and plans very intensive drills together with our allies next year.

“My position, which is shared by many of our friends and allies is that Georgian people, with their capabilities, commitment and burden-sharing approach do deserve fast-forward to the alliance,” Margvelashvili said.

Moreover, the Heads of the states participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels on July 11-12, 2018 issued a joint declaration which reiterates the alliance’s support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova within their internationally recognized borders.

“We call on Russia to withdraw the forces it has stationed in all three countries without their consent,” the declaration of the NATO 29 member states reads.

The document also calls on Russia to reverse its recognition of the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia as independent states; to implement the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 ceasefire, “particularly the withdrawal of Russian forces from the territory of Georgia; to end the militarization of these regions; and to stop the construction of border-like obstacles.”

The declaration reiterates the decision made at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Georgia will become a member of the alliance, with MAP as an integral part of the process.