Gov’t: US seriously supports Georgia’s NATO integration

Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze: “A serious statement of support from the US government." Photo by MFA, 10 Feb 2014 - 17:08, Tbilisi,Georgia

A letter on behalf of a group of Congressmen asking the US Secretary of State to grant Georgia with a Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the NATO 2014 Summit has been received by the Georgian Government as a serious statement of support.

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said the fact that a solid part of the US Congress supported Georgia’s integration with NATO was significant and a very important and positive sign ahead of the 2014 NATO Summit in London.

"We are proud and welcome the initiative that has happened right now,” the Minister said.

"Six years has passed since the Summit in Bucharest was held where NATO leaders agreed Georgia would become a member of NATO and the next step would be a MAP. Presently we have two very effective tools to help us integrate into the alliance, including the Annual Action Plan and NATO-Georgia commission,”|/ Panjikidze said.

The Foreign Minister believed Georgia’s expectations would come true and the country’s progress would be reflected at the London summit in September.

The letter, sent on behalf of 42 US Congressmen to the US Secretary of State John Kerry, welcomed the USA’s efforts to make the NATO 2014 Summit a priority for the alliance’s expansion. It also urged the US to continue its close cooperation with NATO-aspiring countries including Georgia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Central and Eastern European countries.

Georgia aspires for NATO membership, actively contributes to NATO-led operations and cooperates with allies and other partner countries in many other areas.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has numerously praised Georgia's progress toward meeting NATO membership requirements.

Following his first and latest meeting with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili on February 5, 2014, Rasmussen said Georgia had made significant progress and had moved much closer to NATO but there was still work to be done before Georgia could integrate with the Euro-Atlantic community.

During his visit to Tbilisi in June 2013, Rasmussen noted Georgia was "on the right path … [and] with consistent and determined efforts, you will reach your destination.”

NATO-Georgia Relations

At the Bucharest Summit in April 2008, Allied Heads of State and Government agreed Georgia would become a member of NATO. This decision was subsequently reconfirmed at successive NATO summits in 2009, 2010 and 2012.

The NATO-Georgia Commission (NGC) provides the framework for cooperation between NATO and Georgia.

Georgia is currently the largest non-NATO troop contributor to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

Georgia has offered to contribute to the NATO Response Force (NRF) and is expected to join the NRF for its 2015 rotation.

Georgia also cooperates with NATO and other partner countries in a wide range of areas through the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC).

One priority in the area of defence and security-sector reform has been to support demilitarization projects in Georgia through the NATO/PfP Trust Fund mechanism. This mechanism allows individual Allies and partner countries to provide financial support to key projects in partner countries on a voluntary basis.