NATO Sec-Gen on Georgia, Ukraine: ‘we’ll continue to give both countries practical and political support’

  • NATO Secretary General and Georgian Foreign Minister met during the NATO Foreign Ministerial in Brussels today. Photo: Foreign Ministry press office., 4 Dec 2018 - 18:38, Tbilisi,Georgia

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated during the NATO Foreign Ministerial today that Georgia and Ukraine face serious security challenges from Russia and the alliance will continue to give both countries practical and political support.

There is no justification for this use of force [by Russia against Ukraine]. We call for calm and restraint. Russia must release the Ukrainian sailors and ships. It must also allow freedom of navigation,” Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg stated that NATO has three member states as littoral states to the Black Sea – Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania.

Then we have two partner countries, very close partners – highly-valued partners – Georgia and Ukraine and, of course, we work with them on issues related to Black Sea security.

We work with Georgia to modernise their armed forces, build their different military capabilities – we have a training and evaluation centre in Tbilisi.  But, we have also worked with Georgia on strengthening their coastguard. So, NATO is also working with Georgia in strengthening their naval capabilities,” Stoltenberg said.

He stated that NATO works with the naval capabilities of both Ukraine and Georgia, showing that this practical cooperation has a value for the partners but also for NATO because “when our neighbours are more stable, we are more secure.”

Therefore, it is in our interest to work with Ukraine and Georgia in different ways – distinct different partnerships but two highly-valued partners, which have both suffered from Russian aggressive actions,” Stoltenberg said.

Speaking about Georgia’s NATO integration Stoltenberg said that “Georgia has all the tools they need to become a member.”

Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani met with Stoltenberg during the ministerial and stated that the meeting was conducted in a “very positive manner.”

Georgia has received high assessments of its reforms which are being conducted in the defence, security fields and for strengthening of state institutions,” Zalkaliani said.

He stated that the Russian illegal activities on Georgian territory was also discussed at the meeting.