NATO Liaison Office Georgia marks fifth anniversary
The NATO Liaison Office Georgia marked the fifth anniversary of its foundation with the inauguration of a new conference facility in Tbilisi on 1 October. The facility is dedicated to hosting Professional Development Programme training, conferences, and other events that further Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and will also be available to NATO Allies to support their Euro-Atlantic integration activities. Georgian government officials, civil society representatives and NATO ambassadors, defence attachés as well as other members of the diplomatic community attended the event.
The Head of the NATO Liaison Office, Mr William Lahue, and the Georgian State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, H.E. Davit Bakradze held press interviews and addressed the audience. Minister Bakradze acknowledged the important role of the NATO Liaison Office in deepening the mutual relations between Georgia and NATO, and summarised the achieved progress. Mr Lahue welcomed the officers of the NATO team implementing the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP) agreed at the Wales Summit, and introduced Colonel Torsten Köhler, the Head of the SNGP implementing team. Mr Lahue highlighted the growth of the NATO Liaison Office which, along with the SNGP, demonstrates NATO’s strong commitment to Georgia’s progress.
“Georgia is one of NATO’s closest partners,” said Mr Lahue. “Significant progress has been achieved in our relationship over the past five years and during this time, NATO and Georgia have continued to grow closer.” Echoing the words of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Mr Lahue continued, “Today there is more NATO in Georgia and more Georgia in NATO. This conference facility and the SNGP team are symbols of this growing relationship and NATO’s team in Georgia is proud to continue serving in support of Georgia’s ever closer partnership with NATO”.
Colonel Köhler thanked the NATO Liaison Office for its support and the allies who provided staff officers to support SNGP implementation.
Since its foundation in 2010, the NATO Liaison Office has been strongly committed to deepening the NATO-Georgia relationship by providing advice and assistance to the Georgian government in reform processes, as the country works towards its aspiration to NATO membership. In five years, the NATO Liaison Office has grown to its present size of 14 personnel who work on a wide variety of issues related to Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration process. Today there is more NATO in Georgia. The new conference facility is a visible result of this encouraging development.