Foreign Ministers praise Georgia’s reform efforts

  • 04 Dec. 2013 -
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  • Last updated: 05 Dec. 2013 12:05

NATO Foreign Ministers met with their Georgian counterpart for the first time since the inauguration of Georgia’s new president. They agreed that much has been achieved since the NATO-Georgia Commission was created five years ago.

Left to right: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen shaking hands with Maia Panjikidze (minister of Foreign Affairs, Georgia)

Georgia is a unique and highly valued partner for NATO, and there is a lot that the Georgian people can be proud of,” Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.  “This year’s elections, and the parliamentary elections last year, were free, fair and inclusive. Georgia’s democratic process continues to mature, and in that way, Georgia serves as a model for the wider region.”

Georgia has been among the leading contributors to the Alliance’s mission in Afghanistan, and has committed to contribute to the NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces after 2014.

Georgian soldiers are serving their country and protecting our shared values in Afghanistan, side by side with Allied troops. And Georgia has offered to contribute to the NATO Response Force in order to keep our troops connected for the future,” the Secretary General said. “In the five years since we created the NATO-Georgia Commission, Georgia has moved closer to NATO, and together, we have made Georgia and the wider region a safer place,” he added.

Ministers encouraged the new government to continue to strengthen democracy and noted that cooperation between government and opposition will remain essential to carry on reforms.

We recognise Georgia’s achievements in making its democracy stronger, its judiciary more independent, and its defence and security sectors more transparent and accountable. We also look to the Georgian authorities to uphold the rule of law for all citizens and to avoid even the perception of selective justice,” the Secretary General said.

Ministers welcomed Georgia’s continued and patient commitment to peaceful conflict resolution and reaffirmed support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders. They also expressed strong concern about the resumption of activities to erect fences and other obstacles along the administrative border lines within Georgia. Ministers called for their removal, as they affect the lives of people and hamper conflict resolution.

Georgia’s ambitious reform agenda has an ambitious goal: integration into the Euro-Atlantic family, where Georgia naturally belongs,” the Secretary General said. “So I am confident that that the new government will bring a new energy and a new momentum to our cooperation. And we stand firm by our decisions at the Bucharest Summit and will continue to support the Georgian people in fulfilling their aspiration for NATO membership,” he added.