by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the NATO-Georgia Commission meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to be back again in Tbilisi with the NATO Council. This is our third visit since the founding of the NATO-Georgia Commission in 2008, which is a sign of our commitment to this country.
The nations of the Euro-Atlantic community share a strong desire for freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. Georgia shares these values.
Georgia is also strongly committed to the security of our Euro-Atlantic community. You have more troops in our ISAF operation in Afghanistan than any other partner. And you have already pledged to contribute to our new mission to advise, assist and train Afghan forces. This is a major contribution to our joint effort to fight terrorism.
We deeply appreciate Georgia's contribution and the sacrifices made. On behalf of all Allies, let me express our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of the Georgian soldiers who have been killed or injured, including over the past few weeks.
Last week, I attended the ceremony at which we handed over leadership of security across Afghanistan to the Afghans. That is a major success. And Georgia has helped make it happen.
Today and tomorrow, the Council will have the privilege to assess the progress Georgia has made towards Euro-Atlantic integration. And to discuss the work that still needs to be done, including when it comes to strengthening democracy and rule of law. I look to you, Prime Minister, to make co-habitation work, ensure justice without political interference, and defend fundamental freedoms. We trust such efforts will be carried on for the benefit of the Georgian people.
We will continue to help Georgia to pursue critical reforms. We look forward to free and fair presidential elections later this year. And we will continue to support the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.
Georgia's full Euro-Atlantic integration is a goal we all share. The decisions taken at the 2008 Summit in Bucharest stand as firm as ever. If and when Georgia meets the necessary requirements, it will find a home in NATO.
Prime Minister, the floor is yours.