NATO Secretary General praises Georgia's progress toward NATO in visit to Tbilisi
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen praised Georgia for its strong commitment to NATO and to democratic reforms during a visit to the country on Thursday. The Secretary General said Georgia’s reforms are bringing the country closer to NATO. “Georgia is a special partner for NATO and a model of commitment,” he said after talks with President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi. The Secretary General also addressed the Annual Session of the Georgian Ambassadors.
Mr Fogh Rasmussen noted Georgia’s “very significant” contribution to the Alliance-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan, where Georgia will become the largest non-NATO contributor of troops this autumn, and welcomed Georgia's commitmet to be part of a new NATO-led mission after 2014 to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces .“We are deeply thankful for the courage, determination and professionalism that your troops show every day,” Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said. The Secretary General also greeted two Georgian peace-keeping battalions about to depart for Afghanistan.
He also commended Georgia for its commitment to find a peaceful resolution involving its regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and reiterated NATO's “unwavering support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognised borders.”
The Secretary General said NATO continued to support Georgia's reforms and looking to Georgia to keep the momentum of democratic reforms. Mr. Fogh Rasmussen described the conduct and the run-up to the parliamentary elections this October and presidential elections in 2013 as a litmus test for Georgian democracy. “I trust that all political players in Georgia will play a responsible role in this process,” said the Secretary General. “The future is in your hands. But know this: you have a friend in NATO - and a future home in NATO.”