28 Jan 2019 - 15:13
For the first time Georgia will take full responsibility for the planning and the execution of the NATO-Georgia joint military exercise which will be held in March near Tbilisi with the participation of 22 NATO member states and allies, Georgian Defence Minister Levan Izoria told journalists today.
Georgia-NATO relations are upgrading to a new level this year and we will see more NATO in Georgia. For the first time this year Georgia will take full responsibility for the planning and the execution of the drills,”Izoria said.
In previous years the responsibility was shared with NATO.
The fact that the responsibility is fully placed on us confirms how reliable a partner we are for NATO. Hereforth, 22 NATO partners and allies have already expressed desire to participate in the drills,” Izoria said.
NATO Secretary General will visit Georgia during the NATO-Georgia joint drills. Photo: AFP.
Izoria repeated that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will visit Georgia during the exercises.
The visit confirms a very close partnership between Georgia and the alliance,” Izoria said.
Izoria stated that an “unprecedented drills,”-Agile Spirit, will be held in western Georgia this year.
Many countries have already expressed their wish to get involved in the drills. It will be for the first time when the western Georgia will host such a large-scale exercise,” Izoria said.
Russia has many times criticised NATO for its close relations with Georgia.
Stoltenberg told Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili last week in Brussels that “it is the sovereign right of Georgia and not any foreign state to decide with whom [we] cooperate.”
Stoltenberg stated that his visit to Georgia, “to the unique partner country of NATO,” will once again tell everyone that the NATO door is open to Georgia.
The NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre in Georgia hosted such drills in 2016 for the first time.