Joint press point
by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili
President Margvelashvili, warmly welcome to NATO headquarters. It’s great to see you again, we have met before but it’s always a pleasure to receive you here at NATO headquarters. Because Georgia is such a highly valued partner for NATO and our partnership is strong and it’s getting stronger.
Georgia contributes substantially to Euro-Atlantic security.
Georgian troops have been standing shoulder to shoulder with NATO for many years.
Playing an outstanding role in our operations.
Georgia is currently the third-largest contributor to our Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
And I thank you so much for that and I also thank the Georgian people for Georgia’s strong contribution to NATO operations and missions.
Georgia has also carried out impressive defence reforms.
And you have put in place a more mature democracy.
So Georgia has moved closer to NATO.
And we are committed to helping you to do so.
Over the past two years, we have put in place a Substantial NATO-Georgia package of support to strengthen Georgia’s defence capabilities.
And implementation is well on track.
I was very impressed by the implementation of the substantial NATO-Georgia package when I visited Georgia last year.
Our Joint Training and Evaluation Centre in Tbilisi is up and running.
Joint exercises have also started. And I think it’s great to see that Georgian troops, NATO troops and troops of partner nations are exercising together in Georgia. That’s good for us, and it’s good for Georgia. And it a strong expression of the strong support in NATO for Georgia and for our partnership.
And around 30 NATO experts are in Georgia, helping your ongoing defence reforms, with more contributions to come.
So NATO is committed to continue helping you boost your security and carry out your reforms.
And at the Warsaw Summit next month, we will further strengthen our package of support for Georgia.
A clear demonstration of our strong political and practical support for your country.
During our meeting we also discussed today Georgia’s progress in consolidating its democratic institutions.
This includes the preparations for parliamentary elections later this year.
And ongoing efforts to strengthen rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.
I welcome the continuing reform efforts in all these areas.
They are of great importance.
So, Mr. President, once again welcome. Georgia and NATO are moving closer and I welcome that we are able to enhance our partnership.
We will continue to support you.
And I look forward to meet you in Warsaw in just a few weeks.
So once again, welcome.
Questions and answers
Moderator: Thank you very much. We’re going to start with the Georgian Public Broadcaster.
Q: Georgian Public Broadcaster, Mr. Secretary General you mentioned about the political support and need of political support for Georgia which will, we will receive in Warsaw during the Summit but still we want to know more about this issue. Georgia calls on NATO to deliver on membership promises and in December when we read the statements there is written that membership action plan is an integral part of this process so we’ll be somehow this statement change in Warsaw and if not and if not this wording will be much stronger, many thinking Georgia’s (inaudible) it will be a wrong signal to Moscow. And President you also, can you tell us more about expectations.
Jens Stoltenberg: First of all I think it’s important to welcome the progress we are making in our partnership in our cooperation with Georgia and Georgia is making a lot of progress. We have implemented substantial package. We have the training center in place. We have 13 NATO trainers, advisors in place in Georgia and we have seen several different exercises with the NATO and the NATO allied countries exercising together with Georgian troops. And Georgia is implementing reforms, modernizing its armed forces and enhancing and enforcing (sic) its democratic institutions.
All of this is of great importance partly because it is important in itself, I think it’s good for Georgia but it’s also good because it moves Georgia forward on the path towards membership and towards Euro-Atlantic integration. Second we have stated that Georgia has all the practical tools in place already. With the NATO Georgia Commission, with the substantial package and with the partnership and the cooperation we are developing together with Georgia. We stated at our Foreign Ministerial meeting last December that MAP continues to be an integral part of this process.
And it’s too early for me of course to pre-judge exactly what Heads of States and government will decide but I think the idea of saying that Georgia has all the practical tools continue to implement and to deliver on the practical support for Georgia as we’ve seen now over several years but also being focused on the importance of MAP is an approach which gathers broad support in the Alliance. And I think it’s important to understand that even without MAP there’s a lot of things we can do. To have more NATO in Georgia but also more Georgia in NATO is good for Georgia, it’s good for NATO and that’s exactly what we are doing and that is of great importance both for Georgia and for NATO.
Q: And signal to Russia? [ Reporter away from microphone]
Jens Stoltenberg: Well the signal to everyone to the whole international community is that NATO strongly supports the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Georgia and we do that by both provide a lot of practical support. I think there’s hardly any other (inaudible) nation of NATO that receives more practical support than Georgia with the substantial package, with the training center, with the exercises, with advisors from NATO being present in Georgia. But also of course strong political support and this will be reiterated at our Summit in Warsaw.
Georgia will participate in four different meetings at the Summit, a meeting of Heads of States and government and the (inaudible) support from it. There will be a meeting of the NATO Georgia Commission at the Summit at the level of Foreign Ministers. There will also be meetings for the Defense Ministers. So Georgia will be present at the Summit at both the Heads of State level, the Foreign Minister level and the Defense Minister level, so and there will be a NATO Georgia Commission meeting. All of this will be a great expression of our strong support to Georgia and that’s a very clear signal to anyone.
Giorgi Margvelashvili: Well let me repeat what just Secretary General said is that I do expect that after Warsaw Summit we will have more tools and more resources for increasing our our defensibility as well as increasing our cooperation formats that will further the reforms in armed forces and will increase our capacities. This is on the practical side.
On the on the political side we, I believe from Warsaw we will hear firm support of my country’s independence of its sovereignty as well as firm support of my country’s democratic development and faithfulness to the values that we all agree upon and that’s why the (inaudible) was created and that’s why Georgia wants to be in the Alliance. Including the very important four formats which we discussed today with Secretary General we will have possibility to hear firm statements on this issues on these issues in various formats. So of course NATO is an alliance of independent countries who decide independently and have their priorities I believe that working on the Summit with each individual country will further Georgia’s role and further Georgia’s importance and we will come out of the Summit stronger, more integrated and more and more defensible.
Moderator: We have time just for one more question. We’ll go to Rustavi 2.
Q: Secretary General you just mentioned about that, the little things we have to do. About Black Sea Region Security project is it possible to involve Georgia in this project and will you discuss this issue in the Warsaw Summit, thanks.
Jens Stoltenberg: The Black Sea is a Sea and a region which has attracted more attention also from NATO and NATO allies over the last couple of years. Not least because of the increased Russian presence with the illegal annexation and of Crimea and with significant Russian military buildup in Crimea. And NATO allies are now discussing how we can increase our presence in the Black Sea and multi-national presence with more naval ships and more military presence. No decision has been yet taken.
We have increased our presence in the region as part of what we call the assurance measures but we are now looking into whether we can have a more persistent NATO military presence in the region and we will consider a more regular multi-national NATO presence in the Black Sea. I also discussed the situation in the Black Sea with the President during our meeting and of course Georgia also being a literal country to the Black Sea is concerned about the situation and for me this just underlines the importance of NATO working with Georgia to modernize and to and to strengthen the defense capacities of of Georgia being a country which is much very much affected by the security situation in the Black Sea.
Moderator: I’m afraid that’s all we have time for. Thank you very much.
Giorgi Margvelashvili: Thank you.
Jens Stoltenberg: Thank you.