Georgia is much closer to NATO than before - NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said at a joint press conference with Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, David Dondua.
According to her, Georgia is in excellent shape with regard to its relations with NATO, to which attests the Allied Leaders’ statement at the July Summit that Georgia will join the Alliance in line with the Bucharest Summit decision.
Rose Gottemoeller reaffirmed that Georgia is high on the agenda of the Alliance. “Georgia has played a central role over the course of past 10 years in enhancing the NATO-Georgia dialogue and deepening practical cooperation” – She said.
According to her, Georgia as a reliable partner of the Alliance, Georgia is one of the biggest contributors to NATO training operations in Afghanistan, supporting the county to achieve stability. Rose Gottemoeller expressed her concern over Russia’s military build-up in the Black Sea region stating that Georgia’s involvement in strengthening Black Sea security will be of paramount importance.
The Deputy Secretary General reaffirmed her strong support for Georgia’s territorial integrity. According to her “NATO fully supports Georgia’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its international recognized borders, including the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. We call on Russia to withdraw its troops from the country.” she said.
According to Rose Gottemoeller, NATO highly appraises the progress Georgia has made in terms of reforms, including in terms of economic development, creation of more effective security and defence institutions and modernization of armed forces. She said that NATO Georgia Substantial Package has already played an important role in enhancing Georgia’s defence capabilities.
“I call on you to continue on this path leading you to membership of the Alliance. NATO, in the meantime, will assist Georgia in its preparations for membership” - Rose Gottemoeller said.
While in Tbilisi, the Deputy Secretary General is also meeting with President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs, Giorgi Gakharia, First Deputy Minister of Defence, Lela Chikovani, and other senior officials. Between her official meetings, the Deputy Secretary General spoke with students at Tbilisi State University.