Georgian Prime Minister, Giorgi Gakharia, who has opened the fifth North Atlantic Council (NAC) meeting in Georgia’s western coastal city of Batumi earlier today, told NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and the audience that the meeting venue is symbolic because of the importance of Black Sea security.
Gakharia said that since the annexation of Crimea by Russia, NATO's presence on the Black Sea is "critically important."
We all know that a secured Euro-Atlantic space is less imaginable without the security of the Black Sea,” Gakharia said.
He stated that Georgia’s cooperation with NATO “is the foundation of Georgia’s foreign policy and its security.”
Gakharia said that since applying to NATO for membership back in 2002 Georgia has faced significant obstacles and made much progress.
Georgian PM Gakharia said that Georgia's NATO membership should take place in the "definite future." Photo: Prime Minister's press office.
Georgia’s progress was acknowledged at the 2008 NATO Bucharest Summit and we were promised to become a member of the alliance. 71 per cent of Georgians approve the country’s NATO membership and we hope to become part of the alliance in the definite future,” Gakharia said.
Gakharia stated that the upcoming NATO ministerial in December should confirm NATO’s open-door policy.
He thanked NATO and its member states for supporting Georgia’s democratic development and territorial integrity.
Gottemoeller praised Georgia’s contribution to international peace and security and the country’s achievements for democracy, also called upon Russia to withdraw its forces from the Georgian territory.
The visit is an opportunity to deepen and strengthen cooperation with Georgia and to ensure that the Black Sea remains a source of stability and security for the region,” Gottemoeller said.
NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller told the Georgian PM that she firmly supports the democratic reforms being carried out in Georgia, the government of Georgia press office reports. Photo: Government's oress office.
She stated that it is also an occasion to celebrate five years of the Substantial NATO-Georgia package – “the cornerstone of our support to the reform of Georgia’s security and defence sectors, and to Georgia’s preparations for NATO membership.”
The meeting which is scheduled to end tomorrow is unprecedented because NAC has not had five meetings in a partner nation ever, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
The delegation composed of 29 members of NATO is chaired by deputy Secretary General of NATO Gottemoeller, who will also hold meetings with Georgian top officials.
The NAC meeting was initiated by the government of Georgia.
See the full agenda.here.