NATO-Georgia Commission meets in the Georgian city of Batumi
Visiting the Black Sea city of Batumi on Thursday (3 October 2019) the NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller met with the Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia and thanked him for welcoming the North Atlantic Council.
The North Atlantic Council travelled to Georgia on Thursday, 3 October for a two-day visit including a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission.
During the meeting, Ms Gottemoeller said that NATO deeply appreciates the contributions Georgia makes to Euro-Atlantic security and that Georgia is “one of NATO’s closest operational partners. She said that the visit of the North Atlantic Council was “an occasion to celebrate five years of the Substantial NATO-Georgia package – the cornerstone of our support to the reform of Georgia’s security and defence sectors, and to Georgia’s preparations for NATO membership”.
Speaking after the meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission in Batumi, Ms Gottemoeller said that the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package is bolstering Georgia’s defences, including through a Joint Training and Evaluation Centre, a Defence Institution Building school, and joint exercises. “This afternoon, we agreed to refresh and improve the package”, she said. “Allies committed to provide further resources”. Ms. Gottemoeller praised Georgia for strengthening defence institutions, modernizing the armed forces and making clear progress on defence spending. “We encourage you to continue on this path, and to push ahead with necessary reforms beyond the area of defence. It is equally important to strengthen the rule of law and to implement further judiciary reform. We will continue to work with you on reforms that move Georgia closer to NATO”, she said. Ms. Gottemoeller highlighted that at the Brussels Summit in July 2018 Allied leaders “reaffirmed that NATO will accept Georgia as a member of the Alliance” and that NATO’s door remains open. “Today, Allies restated their full support for Georgia’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. We call on Russia to end its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. And to withdraw its forces from these regions of Georgia. We are also concerned by Russia’s military build-up in the Black Sea region. That is why we are strengthening the cooperation between Georgia’s and NATO’s naval forces”, she said.
Ms. Gottemoeller also delivered a speech for students at the Batumi Rustaveli State University. In her address, the Deputy Secretary General said that Georgia’s partnership with NATO contains all the political and practical tools necessary to enable membership when the conditions are right.
“Georgia must continue to pursue the necessary reforms, so that when NATO Allies are ready to take the next step in the political process, Georgia is also ready”, she said.