Message by President Zourabichvili
Thank you very much Mr. Secretary General.
After almost a year when COVID has diverted most of our attention, has constrained in a way diplomatic activity, time has come to centre again on our core interests, around our common values of solidarity and our common projects. And I am very glad to have the occasion at the beginning of this year to be here again and in that way to show how much our priority for Georgia-NATO relation and cooperation is more than ever actual.
Facing old and new challenges, we need all to look forward - we need new energy, more movement and more determination. A number of factors push us in that direction. The fact that new American Administration eager to reaffirm its ties to NATO and its presence, we hope, in the Black Sea and in the region is very important. In our region we have seen new configuration of forces, which shows that even more than ever the Black Sea and the Caucasus are becoming more important for security and should draw even more attention and presence from NATO.
New challenges ask to be overcome together. Of course, COVID-19, but also cyber-security, disinformation and the continuation of the conflicts that we see on our occupied territories. To name some of those need us to join forces.
We hope and call for the solidarity from our partners individually and collectively, when fighting these common challenges, including the pandemic, notably through allocation of vaccines or when trying to defend ourselves from renewed and more and more frequent cyber-attacks and destabilization attempts.
Despite the pandemic crisis, despite the conflict in our neighbourhood, despite the occupied territories and the increased provocations and efforts towards de-facto annexation Georgia has maintained stability, not only on its territory, but around the region. Georgia stood firm, has pushed its agenda of consolidating democracy internally, through reforms and elections and has proved once more its resilience. We value the constant support of our partners and of you Mr. Secretary General to our territorial integrity, to our sovereignty and to our strategic orientation.
Georgia has continued thanks to this cooperation to enhance its defence capabilities, to increase standards and interoperability and to develop the practical tools that prepare for membership. Georgia values the importance of continued NATO exercises on its territory despite the constraints of the pandemic, as we have seen in 2020. We value the increased presence in the Black Sea and port calls, we value the importance of solidarity in taking our share of the burden of collective security through our participation to NATO led operations. We are more ready than ever to increase our efforts and performances and are grateful for the trust toward our country’s aspirations.
The new refreshed SNGP is a demonstration of that and valued tool raising the level of our cooperation and tailored to all these new security challenges. But we need more, we trust the recommendations of the NATO 2030 New Era Report will be taken up. Aspiring Georgia has shown its dedication to reaching the ultimate objective of integration and on that path its resilience in front of the new challenges. Time has come for the alliance to have more solidarity and more audacity.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary General!
Message by Secretary General Stoltenberg
Welcome back to NATO HQ, it is great to see you here again.
Your presence demonstrates once again the close partnership between Georgia and NATO.
Georgia is one of NATO’s close important partners. We have close political partnership and strong practical cooperation. Despite the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic, NATO and Georgia continue to strengthen our partnership and today’s meting of NATO-Georgia Commission, we will take Stock of our achievements and assess what more we can do together
Last year we upgraded the substantial NATO-Georgian pitch. This helps Georgia to implement reforms, enhance its ability to operate with allies and continue to contribute to our shared security. Our key priorities include secure communications. And actually, president and I discussed that during the meeting today, training and exercises and enhancing our maritime support and situational awareness. Today, we will also address security situation in the Black Sea region, and Russia’s continuous military build off.
NATO supports its territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders. We continue to call on Russia to end its recognition of the regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and to withdraw its forces. And I took good note of the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, it confirms that Russia is responsible for human rights violations in the Abkhazia and South Ossetia and that Russia exercises control there. It only strengthens our call for Russia to comply with international law and respect Georgia’s territorial integrity.
In our meeting we also discussed the progress Georgia is making in the reforms. This is crucial, because progress brings us closer to the shared goal – membership of NATO. Today, we addressed Georgia’s commitment to assist in the mission in Afghanistan, Georgia has long been one of the largest troop contributors to NATO training mission, We appreciate the professionalism of Georgian men and women in uniform and the sacrifices you have made.
So, madame president, dear Salome, thank you for being here today, and for your strong personal commitment to NATO and our partnership.
NATO’s partnership makes us safer and more secure.
So please, welcome.