Chairman of the NATO Military Committee reiterates NATO’s enduring commitment to Georgia
On 28-29 April 2021, the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach was in Georgia to meet the President, H.E. Salome Zourabishvili, the Prime Minister H.E. Irakli Garibashvili, the Minister of Defence Mr Juansher Burchuladze and the Chief of Defence Major General Giorgi Matiashvili. He also attended a special ceremony to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Georgian Defence Forces.
The visit started with the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach and the Chief of Defence, Major General Giorgi Matiashvili, attending a ceremony commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Georgian Defence Forces. The Chairman expressed his admiration for the exceptional professionalism and dedication shown by Georgian troops across NATO’s missions and operations. “Georgian troops have been serving under the NATO banner for over 20 years, contributing to our shared, regional and international security. Keeping your neighbours safe and secure, helps keep your people safe and secure”, highlighted Air Chief Marshal Peach.
During the ceremony, the Chairman was awarded the Order of the Golden Fleece by Georgian President, H.E. Mrs Zourabishvili. During their discussion the Chairman reiterated NATO’s longstanding commitment and support to Georgia: “It is a matter of huge personal pride to have been given the Order of the Golden Fleece today. On behalf of the Alliance I am deeply grateful to the people of Georgia for bestowing such a prestigious honour upon me.”
During discussions with the President, Sir Stuart underlined NATO’s support for Georgia’s aspirations to join the Alliance, through the NATO-Georgia Commission, the Annual National Programme, its role as an enhanced opportunities partner, and, the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package. “Allies have decided to further boost the package. It consists of 16 support activities, to be carried out at different levels and across the air, land, sea and cyber domains”, noted the Chairman.
Sitting down with the Georgian Prime Minister, H.E. Mr Garibashvili, Air Chief Marshal Peach inquired about Georgia’s ongoing response to the global pandemic as well as the progress in the national vaccination programme. The COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented challenge to NATO Allies and partners alike. The Chairman acknowledged that “NATO’s Disaster Response and Coordination Centre has already provided assistance to Georgia by providing medical supplies and our Alliance stands ready to further support via our Pandemic Response Trust Fund”.
In his meeting with the Georgian Defence Minister Burchuladze, Sir Stuart Peach received an update on the ongoing development of Georgia’s defence capabilities and its security sector in accordance with NATO standards, which aims to increase its overall interoperability with Allied forces. “Through cooperation in missions and participation in exercises, Georgian forces have become more able, more capable and more interoperable than ever before with NATO troops. These reforms will only add to their ever-growing success”, clarified the Chairman.
While in Tbilisi, the Chairman took the opportunity to pay his respects by laying a wreath at the Heroes’ Square Memorial to honour the Georgian troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their Nation, in the pursuit of peace and freedom.