NATO-Georgia Commission Statement
- The NATO-Georgia Commission (NGC) met at Ambassadorial level in Batumi today with the participation of the Georgian Prime Minister. Allied Ambassadors and Georgia emphasize the unique scope and depth of Georgia’s relationship with the Alliance. Allies welcome the substantial progress on reforms in Georgia over the past decade in consolidating its democracy and achieving stronger economic development, more effective defence institutions, and modernised defence forces. The new Georgian Government is committed to continue implementing these reforms.
- Tomorrow, the North Atlantic Council will meet with President Zourabishvili, the Speaker of Parliament, members of Parliament, and members of the Georgian Government. They will also meet with representatives of Georgian civil society. The official visit of the North Atlantic Council is an opportunity for Allied Ambassadors to celebrate the achievements of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP) over the past five years, which they have agreed will be refreshed and updated. They also intend to review and encourage Georgia’s defence reforms, its domestic political reforms and all aspects of NATO-Georgia cooperation, including matters related to the Black Sea region, and to discuss priorities for the coming period.
- Georgia is one of the Alliance’s closest operational partners, and an Enhanced Opportunities Partner. Allies highly appreciate Georgia’s steadfast support for NATO’s operations and missions, in particular its contribution to the NATO Response Force and its significant contribution to the Resolute Support Mission (RSM), where Georgia is one of the largest troop contributors. We recognize the sacrifices and contributions the Georgian people have made to our shared security. These efforts, along with Georgia’s participation in EU-led operations, demonstrate Georgia’s commitment and capability to contribute to Euro-Atlantic security.
- Celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, Allied Ambassadors and Georgia praise the success of the SNGP implementation achieved through joint efforts by Georgia, Allies, and Partner countries. The Defence Institution Building School and Joint Training and Evaluation Centre (JTEC) are up and running and NATO supports their important goals and objectives. We welcome the conduct of the NATO-Georgia exercise in March 2019, with the participation of 21 NATO Allies and 3 partner Nations. This was the first time that the Georgian General Staff and JTEC planned and led a multinational crisis response exercise according to NATO procedures from start to finish. We are committed to building on this experience and the valuable support of NATO’s Joint Forces Training Centre continues as we prepare for the next NATO-Georgia exercise in 2022. Substantive progress has also been made through other initiatives. Allies are committed to continue providing support and have recently announced new assistance in a number of areas. The SNGP is bolstering Georgia’s defence reform efforts, its interoperability with NATO, and Georgia’s resilience.
- NATO and Georgia are ready to further enhance this cooperation. Building on the success of the last five years, Allies have agreed that NATO and Georgia should conduct a refresh of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP), to be delivered during 2020, to update and improve the package.
- NATO values Georgia’s engagement in, and contributions to, strategic discussion and mutual awareness, on security in the Black Sea region. NATO is further developing dialogue and practical cooperation in this context, including through the SNGP. In line with the April 2019 decision of NATO Foreign Ministers, a number of new steps have already been initiated in this regard. NATO welcomes Georgia’s offers to provide further logistical support to NATO and Allies. Allies have increased their support for Georgia, including training of Georgian Coast Guard boarding teams, enhanced interaction between Georgia’s Coast Guard and NATO’s Standing Naval Forces, port visits, exercises, and the sharing of information to enhance situational awareness. Allies welcome Georgia’s intention to work towards enhancing interoperability with NATO of its newly acquired patrol boats.
- Allied Ambassadors welcome the clear progress made by Georgia on defence spending and in implementing comprehensive reforms aimed at strengthening Georgia’s defence and resilience capabilities.
- Georgia reaffirms its determination to achieve NATO membership, one of its top foreign and security policy priorities, which is backed by strong public support. Allies reiterate their decision made at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Georgia will become a member of the Alliance, with MAP as an integral part of the process; they reaffirm all elements of that decision, as well as subsequent decisions. They welcome the significant progress made since 2008. Georgia’s relationship with the Alliance contains all the practical tools to prepare for eventual membership, in particular the NATO-Georgia Commission, the Annual National Programme, and the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package. Allies recognize the significant progress on reforms which Georgia has made and must continue, which are helping Georgia, an aspirant country, progress in its preparations towards membership, and which strengthen Georgia’s defence and interoperability capabilities with the Alliance.
- Allied Ambassadors reiterate their full support for Georgia’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We call on Russia to reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia. We condemn the grave human rights violations taking place in these regions, their militarization, as well as the resumption of activities such as the construction of barbed wire fences and other artificial border-like obstacles along the Administrative Boundary Line. These steps violate Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and blatantly contradict the principles of international law, OSCE principles and Russia’s international commitments. We further call on Russia to implement the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, in particular to withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia, which are present without Georgia’s consent, and allow the creation of an international security arrangement on the ground. We welcome Georgia’s compliance with the Ceasefire Agreement and its commitment on non-use of force and call on Russia to reciprocate. Allies do not recognize the so-called elections held in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia in June and August. We support Georgia’s efforts toward engagement and confidence building and welcome the Georgian Government’s efforts to implement the “A Step to a Better Future” initiative and improve the lives of the people living in the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia regions of Georgia. Allies express firm support to the Geneva International Discussions, co-chaired by the EU, UN, and OSCE, and underline the utmost need for reaching tangible results on the core issues of the negotiations with the aim to pursue peaceful conflict resolution within the internationally recognised borders of Georgia.
- Our meeting demonstrates the depth, breadth and enduring nature of the NATO-Georgia relationship. Looking ahead, we expect the NGC to continue to play a central role in deepening political dialogue and enhancing practical cooperation between Georgia and the Alliance.
- Allied Ambassadors express their appreciation for the warm hospitality extended by Georgia during the visit.