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NATO Defence Ministers positive on Georgia’s bid for NATO membership

17 Feb 2017 - 12:28:00

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Agenda.ge,17 Feb 2017 - 12:28, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Defence Minister Levan Izoria summarised yesterday’s NATO-Georgia Commission meeting as "very successful”.

A meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission on the ministerial defense level was held in Brussels yesterday where Georgia’s security situation was reviewed and discussed at length.

Minister Izoria said the defence ministers praised Georgia’s defence reforms and supported the country’s aspirations to become a NATO-member state.

Per the official NATO website: "the Secretary General stressed that Georgia is making good progress, and Allies will continue to help Georgia advance on its path towards NATO membership”.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said "we have been successful in helping Georgia implementing reforms, modernizing their own defence forces, armed forces, defence institutions and the best way to protect Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is by modernizing, strengthening the Georgian forces and that’s exactly what NATO is helping to do both in the NATO framework but also some allies also providing some additional support on the bilateral basis”.

We have a very close partnership with Georgia covering a wide range of areas and issues and it is important to remember that the partnership between NATO and Georgia is not a one way street, it’s a two way street meaning that we help and support each other”, he said at a press conference yesterday.

Calling Georgia "NATO’s closest ally”, the United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he respects Georgia for its contribution to military efforts in Afghanistan.

Georgia is currently the largest, non-NATO contributor to NATO Resolute Support Mission with 885 troops.

Izoria believes the long record of cooperation between Georgia and the US and the bilateral agreements on defence and security issues make it possible to carry out "a very ambitious program” with the US.

Izoria referred to opening a joint training centre in Georgia that would strengthen Georgia’s security and be "yet another step forward” on Georgia’s path towards inclusion in NATO.

With the UK Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon, Minister Izoria touched upon the importance of Georgian-UK Wardrop Strategic Dialogue, which is an upgraded level of the Georgian-UK bilateral political dialogue to the level of Strategic Partnership.

Minister Izoria left for Brussels earlier this week to participate in the NATO-Georgia Commission meeting, to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, defence ministers of NATO-member states and other high-ranking officials on February 15-16.

He will now be participating in the 53th Munich Security Conference that will be held from February 17-19.

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