NATO Military Committee visits National Training Centre “Krtsanisi”
At the invitation of Georgia's Ministry of Defence, Military Representatives of the 28 NATO member countries held their first Military Committee meeting with Georgia in its capital, Tbilisi, to discuss Georgia's strong contribution to NATO operations and its progress in defence reforms. "The fact that we are here today is a clear sign of NATO's support for the efforts undertaken by Georgia," commented General Bartels. Honouring the fallen Georgians in NATO-led operations, representatives of the Military Committee expressed NATO's deep appreciation for Georgia's contribution to the Euro-Atlantic security. "Georgian military personnel continue to stand ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for peace whilst endeavouring to prevent crisis, manage conflicts and stabilize post-conflicts situations," stated General Bartels during the wreath laying ceremony at Heroes Square in Tbilisi.
Meeting the President and the Prime Minister of Georgia ahead of the Military Committee session, the General described NATO-Georgia military cooperation as constructive, pragmatic and exemplary, stressing: "Georgia is the largest non-NATO contributor to ISAF. It has pledged to support the NATO-led mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan National Security Forces after 2014, and to participate in the NATO-Response Force in 2015. This dynamism in terms of military engagements is a significant demonstration of Georgia's commitment to NATO and we look forward to enhancing military cooperation after 2014."
The Chairman also discussed Georgia's significant progress in defence reforms with the Defence Minister and the Chief of General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, emphasising: "NATO stands side-by-side with Georgia on its path towards Euro-Atlantic integration. We are committed to assisting your country strengthen defence capabilities, with the aim of creating a highly capable, agile, modern and professional armed forces that are fully interoperable with NATO."
The Military Committee meeting in Permanent Session with Georgia allowed participants to exchange views on prospects of NATO-Georgia military cooperation. Chairing the discussions, General Bartels reaffirmed the importance of this visit as an expression of NATO's deep military ties with Georgia and stated: "The Military Committee in Georgia format as well as the Military Committee with Georgia Work Plan remain highly useful tools to further develop the military cooperation."
The visit concluded with a briefing by General Bartels addressing the students and faculty of the Georgian National Defence Academy on the topic ‘NATO Ready: Alliance Defence and Security in 21st Century’. General Bartels was impressed by the students’ level of knowledge and the high quality of the challenging questions he received. "It shows that not only is the defence establishment reforming but perhaps most importantly the transformation is reflected in the highest military academic institution which makes me confident that the transformation is comprehensive, solid and irreversible."