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Georgian Interior Ministry Vows stronger Ties with NATO for Black Sea Security

By The Messenger Staff
Tuesday, April 2
Georgian Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia says that the ministry and NATO will cooperate more intensively for the Black Sea Security, as Georgia has no naval forces.

Gakharia said that the Interior Ministry is responsible for the coast protection, which places higher obligations for state security on it.

“Georgia has no naval forces and protection of the Black Sea is critically important for the state security,” Gakharia has told the Imedi TV.

He said that the coast guard system will see reforms this year.

On Monday four ships of the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) entered in Poti on Georgia’s Black Sea coast.

The maritime group, which included the frigate HNLMS Evertsen (Netherlands), Turkish TCG Yildirim, Bulgarian BGS Drazki, and Romanian ROS Regele Ferdinand, was led by Commander of SNMG2, Commodore Boudewijn Boots, who will meet with the head of the coast guard of Georgia.

The vessels will stay in Poti port until April 4, and their crews will take part in joint exercises organized by the Georgian Interior Ministry and its Border Police, which aim at increasing interoperability between Georgia and NATO.

Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani stated back in February that it is time NATO offer a more comprehensive strategy to the Black Sea region, as a “secure Europe is unimaginable without a secured Black Sea.”

On April 1, Ukraine was also visited by the NATO Maritime Group ships. Canadian and Spanish frigates from the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) arrived in Odesa. The Royal Canadian Navy's Toronto and the Spanish Navy's Santa Maria frigates moored at one of the berths of the passenger complex of the Odesa sea port. They made a port call after patrolling the Black Sea area along with other warships.

"We are looking into whether we can increase our presence in the Black Sea and in the near future, in a few days, we'll have NATO ships in the Black Sea, participating in an exercise. So we have significantly increased our presence at sea but also in the air and on land in the Black Sea region.” – Said Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) back in February. He recently paid a personal visit to Georgia. The visits in the Black Sea yesterday will hopefully be expanded into a greater cooperation between the Black Sea Region and NATO.