Georgia-NATO relations advances to new level, says Defence Minister

Georgia’s Minister of Defence attended the first field training within the JTEC alongside foreign diplomats and officials. Photo by Ministry of Defence., 19 May 2016 - 18:41, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s Minister of Defence Tinatin Khidasheli says Georgia’s relations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has moved to a new, higher level of cooperation that allowed for even deeper bilateral ties in the future between Georgia and the 28-member of the Alliance.

This afternoon Khidasheli attended the first field training exercise within the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC) at Norio Military Base in east Georgia. 

Today’s exercises were viewed by other Defence Ministry officials, representatives of diplomatic corps and head of the NATO Liaison Office in Georgia William Lahue.

Speaking at the occasion Khidasheli said she hoped the JTEC would soon grow and be a place soldiers from NATO member states as well as Georgian troops could train and upgrade their skills, abilities and experience of working together.

This was echoed by Lahue, who said: "What we saw today is just the beginning”. 

This process will be more refined and the JTEC will transform into a powerful institution that offers effective trainings for soldiers from Georgia and NATO member states. I one again applaud the opening the [Joint Training and Evaluation] Centre.”

Today’s field training involved 100 soldiers from the Georgian Armed Forces (GAF) as the first of 11 rotation trainings that will continue until the end of year, under the supervision of Georgian evaluators and NATO representatives. 

On August 27, 2015 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg opened the JTEC at the Krtsanisi Military Base near Tbilisi, where Georgian troops will train alongside NATO partners and allies.