by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission at Foreign Ministers level, Berlin
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to this meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers. And a particularly welcome to our Georgian colleague, Minister Vashadze.
The NATO-Georgia relationship has deepened significantly in recent years. This has been to the benefit of NATO, of Georgia, and to the Euro-Atlantic area as a whole. And it has helped Georgia to play an increasingly important role as a security contributor.
I want to use this opportunity -- on behalf of all the NATO Allies -- to thank Georgia for its substantial contribution to our common engagement in Afghanistan, where it is the second largest non-NATO troop contributor.
I also wish to offer our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of the Georgian soldiers who have lost their lives, or been injured, during the course of their duties.
At our meeting today we will review the progress in the NATO-Georgia relationship.
Through the NATO-Georgia Commission, we have pursued a substantive and meaningful political dialogue. Through the Annual National Programme, specific and very effective programmes are now in place to support Georgia’s defence and security sector reforms and put them in the context of wider democratic reforms.
During our discussions, we will not only look to what we have already achieved – we will also look to the future. We will give direction and identify priorities for our further cooperation, including with respect to the ongoing process of democratic reform in Georgia.
So that we can get down to business, let me ask the media to leave. Thank you.