by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the meeting of NATO Ambassadors with President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia
Ladies and gentlemen,
Earlier today and yesterday, we had the pleasure to meet with Georgian leaders from all walks of life. Government and parliamentary leaders. Civil society leaders. Representatives of non-governmental organisations, the media, and minority communities.
They showed us that Georgia shares the democratic values of the Euro-Atlantic community of nations. And that Georgia is committed to the path to NATO membership.
So it is only fitting that our final meeting on this visit to Georgia is with you, Mr. President, a leader who has been an ardent supporter of Georgia's advance towards Euro-Atlantic integration.
Mr President, I know that you are a great admirer of the medieval Georgian king, David the Builder. In October, Georgia will hold presidential elections. After those elections, you will hand over power. And when you do, you yourself, your successor, and the Prime Minister will all be remembered as builders of Georgian democracy.
Until that moment, it is crucial that Georgia’s leaders make co-habitation work for the benefit of the Georgian people. I look to you, Mr. President, to further contribute to that process, to help pushing ahead with reforms, further strengthening justice and rule of law and ensuring an inclusive social and political life.
After this meeting, Commission members will attend a ceremony for Georgian military personnel who are deploying to Afghanistan. And that event, too, will be fitting.
Georgia has borne a heavy burden in Afghanistan. And it has paid a heavy price. We express our most profound sympathies, Mr President, to the families of Georgian servicemen who have been killed or injured, especially in the tragic incidents of recent weeks.
Georgia’s commitment to peaceful conflict resolution also speaks for its role as a security provider. We welcome Georgia’s unilateral steps towards Russia and hope such steps will be reciprocated. NATO remains committed to Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders and our non-recognition policy remains unchanged.
Georgia's contributions to our shared security are a powerful demonstration of our shared values. It is one more reason why Georgia belongs in the Euro-Atlantic community.
Thank you and I would now like to thank the press for joining us.