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Defence Minister: NATO Integration Process Strengthens Us Every Day

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, September 4
Georgian Defence Minister Levan Izoria stated on Monday, during the opening ceremony of the Agile Spirit multinational drills, that the NATO integration process makes Georgia’s self-defense capabilities stronger on a daily basis and brings the country’s defense level to high, NATO standards.

Izoria said that the exercise Agile Spirit is one of the essential elements of strategic readiness.

"Our bilateral cooperation [with US], including within this format, which we started in 2011 and then developed, is a brilliant example of how a leader country is supporting the strengthening of our friendship, strengthening of our defense capabilities and bringing our capabilities closer to NATO standards on the one hand and the other hand, how the partner country [US] is ready to do its best to ensure the security and peace in the region. That is why I symbolically called this readiness a symbolic strategic readiness,” Izoria said.

“We perceive the NATO integration process as a daily readiness and not as strategic patience that strengthens us every day and gives a real opportunity to our country's NATO membership. Today's training is one of the key elements of this strategic readiness. Together with you, we will once again take this important step forward with our strategic allies and partners,” Izoria said in Senaki, in western Georgia.

Soldiers from Georgia, US, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Greece, Ukraine, Turkey, Czech Republic and Estonia are taking part in the security exercises conducted under the joint leadership of the Georgian Armed Forces and US Marine Corps.

This year Armenia refused to participate in the drills without providing the reason.

The aim of Agile Spirit 2018 is to prepare military personnel integrated into the NATO Response Force for participation in joint exercises and response to crisis situations. The exercises are also seen to improve interaction between military units on a tactical level.