NATO SECRETARY GENERAL INAUGURATES NEW TRAINING CENTER IN GEORGIA

http://www.nato.int on August 27, 2015, informed that Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised Georgia’s strong commitment to the Alliance and inaugurated a new Training Centre during his first visit to Tbilisi in August. Excerpts below:

At a joint press conference with President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Mr. Stoltenberg described Georgia as “a strong and reliable contributor to our shared security”. He thanked Georgia for its commitment to its relationship with the Alliance – “a relationship that is getting closer and deeper” – and for being the second largest contributor to NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.

Welcoming Georgia’s impressive democratic reforms, Mr. Stoltenberg called the country “an example in the region and beyond”, saying its efforts demonstrate “commitment to being part of the Euro-Atlantic family” and help Georgia prepare for NATO membership. He said he looked forward to continued progress, saying “Euro-Atlantic integration is not an easy road; it takes time, determined efforts and real change.” He stressed, “NATO will continue to stand by Georgia.”

The Secretary General also condemned Russia’s ongoing interference in Georgia, saying “Russia’s latest actions to move the administrative boundary line of the South Ossetia region of Georgia are yet another breach of Russia’s international commitments.” He stressed that NATO Allies remain “fully committed” to Georgia’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

Together with President Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili and Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli, the Secretary General opened the new NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre at the Krtsanisi Military Facility, where Georgian troops will train alongside Allies and partners.

“There is more Georgia in NATO and more NATO in Georgia,” Stoltenberg said. “And all these efforts help Georgia move closer to your aspiration of NATO membership”.

The Training Centre is part of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, agreed at the Wales Summit last year to help Georgia in its aspirations to NATO membership. NATO-Georgia cooperation over many years has strengthened Georgia’s forces, allowing them to work with Allies more closely than ever before.

Comment: The new NATO training center in Georgia is a valuable contribution to closer links of that country to Europe and the West. Georgia’s location at the interchange of global traderoutes makes it geostrategically of great importance. In face of the Russian occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia Western support for the return of these areas to Georgia is crucial as is support for closer links to Europe of Moldavia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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