President Salome Zourabichvili – NATO Open Door Policy is the Cornerstone for NATO-Georgia Relationship

Published in Politics
Monday, 25 March 2019 16:33

President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili hosted the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, as part of his official visit to Georgia.
The President of Georgia expressed her gratitude to Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg for visiting Georgia and stated that it is a pleasant and respectful fact to see Georgia and NATO hosting together NATO-led military exercises, an important message manifesting the level of our confidence-based relationship.
“The path that we follow is a very important sign for Georgia’s population - this path is irreversible and there is no alternative. Everything is done on our side, including military and political reforms, to strongly keep this path.
“NATO’s Open Door Policy is the cornerstone for the NATO-Georgia Partnership. This policy continues, especially following the accession of North Macedonia - an important step,” said the President of Georgia. 
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that Georgia is an extremely valuable partner and the door is open for Georgia.
NATO continues to support Georgia and urges the Russian Federation to withdraw its forces from the Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia.
“Madam President, it is really great to be back and meet you again. We last met in Brussels and now here in Tbilisi; that shows strength and high-level of partnership activities that we now have between Georgia and NATO.
“Georgia is a highly valued partner of NATO. Today, I have visited the Joint Training Center where we now are conducting joint exercises - Georgia and the several NATO allies and some partners.
“It shows that Georgian soldiers and the NATO soldiers are able to operate side-by-side and work together. And, I am extremely grateful for Georgia’s contributions in our shared security.
“Georgia is a part of NATO Response Force. Georgia contributes in our mission in Afghanistan and by working so closely together, we are strengthening the security of NATO allies and also helping you. This is something which is in the interest of both Georgia and NATO.
“Georgia is really a unique partner. We welcome the progress you are making, the reforms you are implementing, and we urge you to continue on that path of reforms.
“NATO leaders have stated again and again that Georgia will become the member of the Alliance. I was present at NATO Summit in Bucharest in 2008, where we stated that for the first time. But, we made the same statement, Georgia will become the member of Alliance, after the NATO Summit in July in Brussels last year.
“We will continue to support you as you walk towards membership and we, of course, also recognize and strongly support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. And, therefore we call on Russia to withdraw its forces from South Ossetia and Abkhazia and its recognition of these territories because they are part of Georgia within Georgia’s internationally recognized borders.”
The meeting was attended by Georgia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Davit Zalkaliani, Minister of Defense Levan Izoria, Chief of Georgian Defense Forces Vladimer Chachibaia, Head of Presidential Administration Lasha Zhvania, Head of the Georgian Mission to NATO Alexandre Maisuradze, and Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Ketevan Makharashvili. From the North Atlantic Alliance’s side, the meeting was attended by Deputy Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Security Policy and NATO Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai, Military Assistant to the Secretary-General Gjermund Eide, Head of NATO’s Liaison Office in Georgia Rosaria Puglisi, Officer of the Euro-Atlantic and Global Partnership at the Political Affairs and Security Policy Division Steffen Elgersma, and Deputy Spokesperson Piers Cazalet.

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