Opening Remarks by General Knud Bartels, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee
at the press conference after the meeting with Irakli Alasania, Minister of Defence of Georgia and Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze, Chief of General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces
Mr. Alasania, Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze
Thank you for your remarks and for hosting the NATO Military Committee meeting here in Tbilisi. We are honored to be here today to discuss Georgia’s security and defence transformation, your contribution to the Euro-Atlantic security and prospects of NATO-Georgia military cooperation.
Let me start by expressing our sincere appreciation of Georgia’s strong contribution to the ISAF Operation, intended participation in the post -2014 mission in Afghanistan and the NATO Response Force. Let me once use this opportunity to express my thoughts to the families of the fallen soldiers from the Georgian Armed Forces. And also our thoughts are going to those who are wounded in action. All those military engagements are clear demonstrations of Georgia’s commitment to Euro-Atlantic security.
From speaking with Mr. Alasania and Major-General Kapanadze, I have gained insight on Georgia’s significant progress in achieving its ambitious defence reforms. The NATO Military Committee strongly supports these reforms and looks forward to strengthening military cooperation, both in terms of operational engagements and interoperability in order to maintain the beneficial partnership we have built throughout the years.
As I made clear during our discussions, NATO stands side-by-side with Georgia on its path towards Euro-Atlantic integration. We are committed to assisting your country strengthen defence capabilities, with the aim of creating a highly capable, agile, modern and professional armed force that is fully interoperable with NATO.
To conclude, Georgia is a highly valued military partner for NATO and I look forward to our next discussions in the Military Committee with Georgia on military specific issues.
Once again, thank you for your attention.