Joint press conference

with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili

  • 08 Sep. 2016 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 08 Sep. 2016 18:15

(As delivered)

Joint press point with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili

President Margvelashvili, thank you so much for your kind words and for your warm welcome. And I really appreciate the hospitality we have seen in Georgia during our visit here yesterday and today. And it has been a great experience for the whole North Atlantic Council to be back in Georgia, to have meetings with different government officials, ministers, but also in the Parliament, and then to meet with you today.

And as you just stated this is the fourth time the North Atlantic Council visits Georgia and I think this is a very strong expression of the importance we are attaching to the partnership between Georgia and NATO.

The visit of the North Atlantic Council representing all the 28 Allied members and Montenegro in the process of becoming the 29th member of our Alliance, sends a very clear message:  that the bonds between NATO and Georgia are stronger than ever.  

Let me thank you, for the important contributions Georgia is making to NATO’s operations and NATO’s activities.

We have seen that in Afghanistan, Georgia has stood side-by-side with NATO for many years.

And I am deeply grateful for these contributions.  And we recognize the sacrifice of Georgia’s soldiers and their families. 

We also recognize the contribution you are making to international security, to our shared security.  

Georgia continues to implement fundamental reforms.  And we are impressed by the magnitude and the speed and the determination you have shown in implementing important reforms for Georgia and for your efforts to become a member of the Alliance. These reforms are most important for Georgia itself.  But they also help to prepare Georgia for NATO membership. This will take time and it will require patience.

But we are committed to keep helping you on that path. Including through the NATO Georgia Commission. And the Substantial NATO-Georgia package. NATO experts are here in Georgia now to help strengthen your defence capabilities. Providing advice on planning, education and cyber security.

And we have increased joint training and exercises for troops from NATO, Georgia and other partner countries. And last year you and I together inaugurated the new Training and Evaluation Centre, yet another example of that we are now delivering on our practical support and we are expanding our practical cooperation, NATO and Georgia.

So put simply, as I have stated again and again during my visit, today there is more NATO in Georgia and more Georgia in NATO. And that is to the great benefit of Georgia and of NATO so this is something which is mutually beneficial for both Georgia and for the Alliance.

As an aspirant country, Georgia has also been working hard to meet NATO’s democratic standards. And here too there has been steady progress over the years.  We look forward to the upcoming elections meeting the highest democratic standards. Because as a community of values, NATO puts a premium on democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Finally, we will continue to follow closely the security situation in your country. The situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia is not getting better.  At the Warsaw Summit, we have restated our full commitment to Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, within its internationally recognised borders.

Mr. President,

Thank you once again for your hospitality, thank you for your friendship and it’s always great to meet with you. We last met at the NATO Warsaw Summit in July and now we meet again and it’s great every time to meet with you and to discuss with you.

Thank you

Q: Georgian Public Broadcaster First Channel: Last month in Warsaw where we had the practical support to Georgia, we are awaiting Brussels Summit and we are aware that this Summit will not be the Summit dedicated to enlargement. What might be the maximum result Georgia can anticipate from Brussels Summit, maximum outcome? And a question to the President what are our practical steps that in Brussels - during the Brussels Summit to obtain more support? Thank you.

JENS STOLTENBERG (NATO Secretary General): We have just started the preparations for the next Summit in Brussels and the dates are not fixed and we have just finished the Summit in Warsaw. To be honest I’m not able to tell the exact outcome of the Summit before we have held the Summit and before we have come a bit further in the preparations, but what I can tell you is that the more reforms Georgia is implementing the more progress we will also see on that Summit related to Georgia and to your efforts to become a member of the Alliance.

 And as I have restated several times today and yesterday the thing is that strong democratic institutions, the rule of law, independent judiciary, predictable and good relations for foreign companies and for business environment these are reforms which are important for Georgia regardless of NATO. But in addition the more successful you are in modernizing your country the more successful you will also be in moving towards NATO membership. So, my strong message to you is to continue on what you are already doing - implementing reforms; that will benefit Georgia but it will also benefit your efforts to join NATO and it will also make the Summit in Brussels even more relevant for your efforts.

GIORGI MARGVELASHVILI (Georgia President): [Interpreted]: As I have already singled out Warsaw Summit provided us with real instrument to deepen our defense capabilities as well as attain reprochement with NATO standards and come closer to the Alliance. The current visit one more time made clear how that these opportunities are real. Many countries take commitments in terms of providing assistance to Georgia. 

Actually, this is the whole composition of NATO, that our conversing at the concrete support of our defense reforms and our defense capabilities and I’d like to use this opportunity to render my thanks one more time to these countries and their representatives, which infers that in advance of the Brussels Summit we have the opportunity to put to make the best use of the opportunities we procured at Warsaw Summit and we have the concrete partners who are supporting for us, providing support for us and for the Brussels Summit we should table such work, such achievements which will be positively evaluated by all partners.

Also the Warsaw Summit outcome is extremely important and this is related to the quite in depth discussion on the security of the Black Sea Basin. The eastern part of the Black Sea Georgia is a corridor connecting Asia with Europe and on the contrary which are the ports which enables the Caspian Sea resources to be shipped to the European markets in terms of cargo, energy carriers and vice versa they open the conduit for European markets towards Asia and the discussion on the security of the eastern part of the Black Sea this is the work we are going to get engaged very (inaudible).  Arising from Warsaw Summit decisions.

And the response is given in this regard will provide more security, opportunity for cooperation and peace in the region. And namely proceeding from Warsaw Summit decision Georgia possesses quite large scale resources and we have however very serious homework and we will be successful at the Brussels Summit as back in Warsaw with good homework prepared and the projects fulfilled.

Q: Turkish Information Agency Anadolu Press: My question goes to Secretary General. And my question goes to the Black Sea region and its security. In Turkey we have the discussion we hear the discussion that NATO is not providing sufficient support to Turkey. Do you think so or not? And what are your concrete steps in the Black Sea region to strengthen the security? Because my question also refers to Georgia which is aspiring country and for and the security is vitally important for this country, thank you.

JENS STOLTENBERG: After this press conference I will go directly to Turkey to Ankara and that will be my fifth visit to Turkey as the Secretary General. And I have visited Turkey so many times because Turkey’s highly valued ally and it’s a key ally.

Close to the Black Sea region and also close to the turmoil and violence in the south bordering Iraq and Syria. And I will during my visit to Turkey once again express NATO’s firm and strong support to Turkey, to the Turkish people and to the democratic institutions of Turkey. And I will also once again express that Turkey is a valued ally where we see important benefits both for Turkey and for the whole Alliance that we are further developing the way we are working together in addressing the challenges both in the Black Sea region and fighting terrorism in Iraq and Syria. And NATO provides support to Turkey as a member of the Alliance. We have increased our military presence in Turkey.

We have, we have increased naval presence and we have also increased our presence in the air space over Turkey with surveillance planes, AWACS planes providing surveillance over Turkey. In addition we have also deployed defensive missile defense systems to augment the air defenses of Turkey against a potential missile threats. I will, when I visit Turkey of course discuss what more NATO can do and I will also discuss the challenges we see in the Black Sea region and again we have increased our presence in the Black Sea region.

We have increased naval presence, presence in the air but we also made decisions at the Warsaw Summit to develop what we call tailored forward presence in the southeast of the Alliance, so all of these issues will be on my agenda when I meet with President Erdogan later on today and with Ministers and representatives of different political parties in Turkey tomorrow. We will continue to support Turkey, we will continue to support the democratic institutions of Turkey and my visit to Turkey later on today will once again confirm that Turkey’s a highly valued ally of the NATO Alliance.