Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia met NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg earlier today at NATO headquarters in Brussels, where Black Sea security, air traffic radar data sharing, upcoming elections in Georgia and the challenges and progress of the country on the path to NATO membership were discussed.
After the meeting Prime Minister Gakharia and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg held a joint press conference. Stoltenberg stressed Georgia is one of NATO’s most important partners, contributing to the alliance’s shared security in many ways, including with troops in NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan.
“We can all be proud of what we do together and you can be proud of your contributions to our shared security and contributions to our missions and operations”, Stoltenberg said.
Stoltenberg also underlined that NATO welcomes the progress Georgia is making on reforms, stressing that Georgia has already made good progress in modernising its armed forces and in strengthening democracy.
And I encourage you to continue making full use of all the opportunities for coming closer to NATO. And to prepare for membership. We count on Georgia to ensure next month’s elections meet the highest international standards. This is important for Georgia, and for NATO”, he said.
“I have, in particular, underlined the importance of continuing reforming the judiciary, and also making sure the full democratic oversight of the security services. Georgia has made and is making progress on all these areas, and we welcome and encourage further focus on reform, and we also discussed that during our meeting,” NATO Secretary General said.
"The most important part for us was to figure out the function of Georgia - the new role of Georgia on Black Sea security. We see Black Sea security as the window of opportunity for Georgia, for deepening the cooperation with NATO, " stressed Gakharia.
"Of course, at the same time very important elections are coming, and we fix our commitment that the government will do everything for free elections, and it will be the next step forward for consolidating democracy in the country, and it will be the next step forward for deepening the cooperation with NATO on political dimension," PM said.
Stoltenberg highlighted that earlier this year, NATO allies agreed to strengthen the NATO-Georgia partnership even further. Speaking about NATO’s close cooperation with Georgia on Black Sea security, he said that the allies agreed to share more air traffic radar data, working jointly to address hybrid threats, as well as doing joint exercises in the Black Sea region.
“NATO supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognised borders. We call on Russia to end its recognition of the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and to withdraw its forces”, he said.
Stoltenberg thanked Prime Minister Gakharia for his strong personal commitment to the alliance and said that “NATO’s partnership with Georgia makes us all safer and more secure”.
PM Gakharia departed yesterday to Brussels, Belgium accompanied by Georgian FM David Zalkaliani to meet with EU and NATO leadership and to further discuss Georgia’s Euro Atlantic aspirations.