NATO has vowed to contribute to a planned Georgia-NATO training centre and bring NATO trainers to the country, Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said following the of NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, December 2.
NATO announced its intention to establishing a military training centre in Georgia at the Wales Summit in September. The centre aimed to see more Georgian participation in NATO exercises and possibly expand the local NATO liaison office.
"Today we also discussed how to help partner countries as they make their own security sectors more efficient and transparent,” Stoltenberg said.
"We have been working closely on this issue with Georgia, Jordan and the Republic of Moldova, based on their requests and their needs. For example, we will embed experts from NATO allies to provide advice on issues such as training and defence reform. And we will contribute to a new NATO-Georgia training centre with embedded NATO trainers.” Stoltenberg was confident in Georgia’s position as a NATO partner country and believed no third country can "veto” the partnership.
"First of all, the whole idea that the training centre is a threat is, in a way, is violating the principles which we very much believe that our security… should be based on. And that is the idea we have … that states… all countries should be able to decide themselves as a sovereign nation what kind of security arrangements they would like to be a part of,” he said.
Stoltenberg emphasized Georgia was a significant partner of NATO and the organisation did not recognise Georgia’s occupied regions as independent states in any way.
"We have decided to work together and we have decided to help and assist Georgia through a training centre. And that's a decision taken by a sovereign nation, Georgia, in cooperation with an alliance … NATO, and no other country, no third country, can veto or try to stop this kind of partnership between NATO and sovereign Georgia,” he said Stoltenberg stressed that Abkhazia and South Ossetia were parts of Georgia and NATO "strongly supported” the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Georgia within internationally recognised borders.
Bilateral talks held within NATO ministerial meeting
Georgia’s Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili, who is at the NATO headquarters in Brussels and expects to meet Stoltenberg later today, believed implementation of the Substantial Package would be the topic the pair would discuss.
In September 2014 NATO offered Georgia a Substantial Package that involved developing Georgia’s defensive capacity, joint training and exercises, strengthened liaison and enhanced interoperability opportunities.
In Brussels Beruchashvili has held a series of bilateral meetings in the framework of the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting. She met her Bulgarian, Belgian, Portuguese, Lithuanian, Icelandic and Slovakian counterparts.
Georgia's Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili and her Bulgarian counterpart Daniel Mitov in Brussles on December 2. Photo by Georgia's MFA.
The foreign ministers discussed the so-called "treaty" signed between the Russian Federation and Georgia’s occupied Abkhazia region.
They also debated the possible threats posed by the signing of the Russia-Abkhaz deal in terms of regional stability and security, and underlined this action of the Russian Federation will have "negative consequences” in the wider context of European and Euro-Atlantic security, Georgia’s Foreign Ministry’s press office said.
The foreign ministers reaffirmed their governments' support for Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Beruchashvili thanked her colleagues and the international community for their statements supporting Georgia and for condemning the signing the so-called "treaty".
Meanwhile during the bilateral talks, the Georgian Foreign Minister provided her colleagues with details of Georgia’s main foreign policy goals in terms of European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
She underlined the positive impacts of bilateral relations and further development of cooperation in a range of fields with the earlier-mentioned countries.
On another note, the situation in Ukraine and the new Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan were also discussed at the one-day NATO foreign ministers meeting.
Georgia earlier indicated willingness to participate in the post-2014 follow-on Resolute Support mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces after the ISAF mission ended.