“In Afghanistan, you are already the second largest non-NATO contributor to our ISAF mission. By this time next year, you will be the largest. Your commitment is without caveats, and without constraints – making the Georgian presence even more valuable for our commanders. You are a model member of ISAF. And I thank you for it ”, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
Earlier, the NATO Secretary General addressed a ceremony for Georgian troops returning from Afghanistan at the Vaziani military base.
“Your service in Afghanistan is also vitally important in another way. It makes the personnel of the Georgian armed forces better prepared to work alongside their colleagues from NATO in other missions too. And this is a key part in your country’s preparations for NATO membership”, the Secretary General said.
In a speech to the Tbilisi State University earlier in the morning, the Secretary General said that Georgia and NATO share common values, a common culture, and a common history.
“I look forward to seeing Georgia in NATO - as soon as it is fully able to meet the obligations and responsibilities of membership. Georgia has already made an impressive start; you are on the right track. It is now up to you to carry on with that work and to focus on continued reform, because that is the only true path to NATO membership”, the Secretary General said, and added: “It’s the only true ticket to a secure and stable future for all of you. Built on the firmest of foundations - freedom and democracy.”
The North Atlantic Council also met with the Chairman of Parliament Mr. David Bakradze and other parliamentarians, as well as with representatives of Georgian civil society.