Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held a meeting earlier today wherein a ‘clear vision of Georgia’s eventual integration to NATO’ was discussed.
Garibashvili stated that time has come to advance the country’s integration and ‘make concrete political decisions.’
He underlined that Georgia has ‘all practical tools to join the NATO, noting that the country has an active dialogue with allies to prepare a political decision regarding Georgia’s integration.
Productive meeting w/ @jensstoltenberg. In the current challenging geopolitical environment, #NATO's steady & bold support of ????????'s territorial integrity & sovereignty is crucial. As a battle-tested partner, we look forward to deepening co-op resulting in the eventual membership. pic.twitter.com/wvqQVToMU3— Irakli Garibashvili (@GharibashviliGe) December 15, 2021
Membership in NATO is the top foreign and security policy priority of Georgia, which is supported by the absolute majority of our people,” said Garibashvili.
He emphasised the importance of the 2008 Bucharest Summit declaration which supports Georgia’s bid to become a member of the alliance, stating that it ‘was a very strong message back then which still resonates today.’
Garibashvili also underscored that the fulfilment of the 2008 Bucharest Summit declaration is ‘as relevant for NATO as it is for Georgia.’
He thanked Georgia’s allies for their ‘constant support’ of the country's sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-recognition policy, noting that ‘this is something the Georgian people value and cherish greatly.’
The security situation in the region was also discussed at the meeting, including Russia’s ‘destabilising activity’ in the Black Sea region.
Garibashvili stated that it is impossible to ensure the sustainability of Euroatlantic security infrastructure without sustainable Black Sea security.
We welcome NATO’s increased presence in the Black Sea which is vitally important for maintaining stability in our region,” said Garibashvili.
Stoltenberg stated that NATO remains vigilant in avoiding escalation in the region, noting that ‘any future Russian aggression would come at a high price and have serious political and economic consequences for Russia.’
Started a visit to Brussels with ???????? PM @GharibashviliGe. We will hold high-level meetings at #NATO and the #EU. Looking forward to the #EasternPartnership Summit, where the strategic importance of the #EaP, as well as ????????'s European aspirations are to be once again accentuated.— David Zalkaliani (@DZalkaliani) December 15, 2021
Georgia and Ukraine have the right to choose their own alliances and Russia has no right to dictate that choice,” said Stoltenberg.
Stoltenberg also underscored that NATO is working to strengthen Georgia’s defence capabilities with ‘maritime support, joint exercises and information sharing,’ stating that NATO will continue to provide strong political and practical support to its partners.
Georgia’s domestic reforms and implementation of the country’s annual national programme were also discussed at the meeting.
Good meeting today with PM @GharibashviliGe. #NATO strongly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our close partner #Georgia, and we reject any idea of spheres of influence in Europe. NATO will continue to provide political and practical support to our partners. pic.twitter.com/XOJ3wCt4su— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) December 15, 2021
Stoltenberg encouraged the Georgian government to cooperate with the opposition to settle political differences and reduce polarisation.
NATO expects Georgia to uphold the democratic standards that it has worked so hard to develop in recent years,” Stoltenberg stated.
Stoltenberg thanked Garibashvili for Georgia’s efforts made in Afghanistan by contributing to the fight against terrorism and for helping evacuating thousands of people from Afghanistan in August of this year.
The meeting between Garibashvili and Stoltenberg took place ahead of the EaP Summit, which will be held today in Brussels.
The EaP was launched on April 7, 2009 and united six Eastern European countries – Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. However, Belarus suspended its participation in the EaP following the economic sanctions imposed by the EU against the country earlier this year for the 'violence against peaceful protesters, intimidation, arbitrary arrests and detentions' in Belarus following the presidential elections in August 2020.