NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that North Macedonia’s accession into NATO means that the alliance door remains open to countries that meet the alliance’s standards and which adhere to NATO values of democracy.
And we are very encouraged by what we see in Georgia: the commitment to reforms, the commitment to strengthening defence and security institutions, transparency, judiciary reforms … we welcome the very clear commitment of NATO leaders at the summit in July that Georgia will become a member of the alliance,” Stoltenberg said yesterday after the signing of the NATO Accession Protocol with North Macedonia.
Today is a historic day. All #NATO Allies have signed the Accession Protocol with ????????, which will bring more security & prosperity to the whole region. I look forward to the day when 30 flags will fly outside NATO HQ. pic.twitter.com/trPtvsn3MD— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) February 6, 2019
Stoltenberg said that NATO has actually stepped up the cooperation with Georgia.
We are grateful for all the support Georgia provides to NATO in NATO missions and operations, but also we see that NATO is actually stepping up support and cooperation with Georgia. So we will continue to support Georgia as it moves towards NATO membership,” he said.
The statements both about Georgia and North Macedonia have been made amid Russia’s strong criticism of the alliance, as the country believes that by taking in Balkan members, the alliance is “undermining security in the region”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin openly stated last year that “Russia will react extremely negatively” to Georgian membership in NATO.
During the meeting with newly elected Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili Stoltenberg said that it is up to Georgia alone to decide with whom to cooperate.