NATO Secretary General discusses partnership and domestic developments with Georgian Prime Minister
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili at NATO Headquarters on Wednesday (17 March 2021), ahead of the Prime Minister’s meeting with the North Atlantic Council. The Secretary General emphasised the close political partnership and strong practical cooperation between NATO and Georgia, thanking Georgia for serving alongside NATO forces in Afghanistan.
'‘At the meeting we had today, and also the meeting later on today, of the NATO-Georgia Commission, we will discuss how we can build on our cooperation,’ ' said the Secretary General. The NATO-Georgia Commission provides a forum for consultation on the process of reforms in Georgia and NATO's assistance to that process, as well as on regional security issues of common interest. The Secretary General and the Prime Minister addressed the security situation in the Black Sea region. Yesterday, Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 entered the territorial waters of Georgia. This visit aims to enhance interoperability between naval forces by conducting joint exercises with the Georgian coast guards. The Secretary General also expressed concerns over Russia's continued military build-up in the Black Sea and recalled NATO's continued support to Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty. "We continue to call on Russia to end its recognition of the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and to withdraw its forces," he said.
In the framework of their close partnership, NATO and Georgia have open and frank exchanges, even on difficult issues. 'The recent political developments in Georgia are worrying', said the Secretary General, adding that 'NATO expects Georgia to uphold the democratic standards that it has worked so hard to develop in recent years. This includes resolving political differences through dialogue, and avoiding divisive rhetoric and actions'. Mr. Stoltenberg expressed support for the EU mediation effort in Georgia, urging the Prime Minister to work with the opposition to find common ground and solutions.