Georgia will host NATO-Georgia Exercise 2019. For the first time, NATO-Georgia joint exercise, in its planning and execution phase, will be commanded by the Georgian Defence Forces.
During three days, the final details of the planning were discussed by the representatives of NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT), NATO member and partner countries and Georgian side at NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC).
The Final Planning Conference of NATO-Georgia Exercise 2019 was concluded by the Commander of Train and Military Education Command of the Georgian Defence Forces Colonel Grigol Chelidze and summarized the results of the event.
NATO-Georgia Exercise 2019 will be conducted at NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC). 23 NATO member and partner countries already expressed their willingness to participate in the event. During the exercise the Georgian military personnel will develop skills in planning NATO operations using computer simulations. The exercise will be conducted within the frames of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package and contribute to the enhancement of Georgia’s interoperability with the Alliance.
Minister of Defence of Georgia Levan Izoria delivered a lecture in the framework of the Project “No to Occupation”. In his address to the representatives of Gori and Kaspi self-governing bodies, non-governmental organizations and local students, Levan Izoria highlighted the implemented and planned defence reforms.
Minister focused on the challenges currently faced by Georgia and the threats expected from Russia, which, according to Minister`s words, is a real problem not only for Georgia and but for the whole western world. Minister Levan Izoria, in consideration of the current threats, underlined significance of the practical steps undertaken by Georgia and emphasized NATO deterrence policy.
One of the key topics of the conversation was the reforms carried out in the field of defence with the aim of strengthening Georgia`s defence capabilities. Minister also informed the attendees about the Georgia Defence Readiness Programme (GDRP), which is implemented in cooperation with Georgia`s strategic partner- the United States. When talking about the Georgian foreign policy priorities, Minister reviewed NATO-Georgia cooperation, Georgia`s Euro-Atlantic integration aspirations and different aspects of Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP). Levan Izoria also presented the future plans of the Ministry of Defence, in particular, the basic components of Total Defence Concept. Later on the meeting went on in a question and answer format. The questions asked to Minister concerned compulsory military service, reserve and mobilization system, the current situation on the occupied territories and Georgia`s NATO membership prospects.
The meeting with Minister of Defence was held under the support of the organization “Bridge of Friendship-Kartlosi” in the multi-profile school of Kaspi Municipality where the Occupation Museum is located.
NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC) hosts the first ever joint exercise. It is led by Georgian officers and aims to build the capacity of planning, coordination and execution of the crisis response measures. H.E. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia addressed the participants of the multinational exercise. He referred to the joint endeavor as yet another evidence of an unshakable aspiration of Georgia towards Euro-Atlantic integration and close cooperation of the country with the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO). He thereby expressed gratitude to the representatives of 11 alliance and 2 partner countries.
"Our goal is to increase the defense capabilities and training of Georgian army with NATO standards. Such efforts as held today enable us to make a greater contribution to the strengthening of the international security. Cooperation between NATO and Georgia is aimed at ensuring the peace, stability and development in the region. It should serve to the interests of all the parties involved" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia and stated that these efforts are not aimed against anyone.
In the opinion of the Head of the Government of Georgia, it is unprecedented that such key-note exercise is held in Georgia - a non-member partner country of NATO. He also believes that this format of efforts offers a unique opportunity to the Georgian military to develop their professional skills in line with NATO procedures and together with representatives of military forces from NATO alliance and partner countries.
"I take great pride in seeing Georgians successfully pass all the stages to hold the exercise at such a high level. We are greatly honored for having a Georgian party lead the multinational brigade of the crisis management and response exercise. Once again, let me thank our strategic partners for such a great trust and recognition. By holding a multinational exercise in Georgia we get assured in the solid support of the Alliance towards our country within the scope of an effective implementation of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package and manifestation of Euro-Atlantic aspirations. I am confident that trainings will be performed at a very high level and will serve to be both beneficial and successful to every participant" added the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Joint Exercise 2016 is held within the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP). It will last through November 20, 2016. Participants are engaged from 11 alliance and 2 partner countries, including the following: Turkey, Latvia, Lithuania, Kingdom of Netherlands, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Kingdom of Belgium, Slovenia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America (alliance countries); Ukraine and Macedonia (partner countries).
Key-note event was attended today by the President of Georgia, Minister of Defense, Members of the Parliament of Georgia, representatives of the military forces and diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia. Distinguished guests visited the brigade staff premises hosting the Joint Exercise 2016.
Democratic reforms of Georgia, preparation for the parliamentary elections and prospects of deepening NATO-Georgia relations were discussed during the meeting of the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg.
Head of the Government of Georgia thanked the Secretary General for the visit of the NAC and indicated that Georgia considers it to be yet another sign of support of Alliance.
Particular attention was paid to the steps taken in the area of increasing the country's defensibility as well as NATO's important contribution in this area.
The parties noted that NATO-Georgia relations are gradually developing and decisions taken at the Warsaw Summit are a clear indication of this, whereas Alliance has recognized Georgia as one of the most compliant and trustworthy partner.
Secretary General of NATO outlined the significant contribution of Georgian military personnel in ensuring international security.
The conversation also touched upon parliamentary elections scheduled this October. Prime Minister noted that the Government of Georgia will spare no effort to hold elections compliant with the democratic norms and international standards.
Deputy Secretary General of NATO Alexander Vershbow, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai, Head of the NATO Liaison Office, William Lahue as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikheil Janelidze, Minister of Defence Levan Izoria, Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani, Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Mghebrishvili, State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration David Bakradze, Ambassador of Georgia to NATO Alexander Maisuradze and Deputy Head of the Administration of Government Nino Kobakhidze attended the meeting.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg briefed media on Monday (13 June 2016) on the agenda of this week’s meetings of NATO Defence Ministers. “Over the next two days, we will take a series of important decisions to strengthen our collective defence and enhance our cooperation with partners,” said Mr. Stoltenberg. He stressed that these decisions will pave the way for the Warsaw Summit in July.
“We will agree to deploy by rotation four robust multinational battalions in the Baltic states and in Poland,” said the Secretary General. He underlined that these battalions are part of a much bigger shift in NATO’s defence and deterrence posture, including a larger NATO Response Force, a new Spearhead Force and 8 new small headquarters in the eastern part of the Alliance. “All together this strikes the right balance between a greater ability to reinforce, and boost our forward presence,” he added.
NATO has also taken action to ensure that Allied troops can move faster across Europe, for exercises or reinforcements, if needed. “Last month, the Spearhead Force conducted an exercise which showed how far we have come. One thousand troops and four hundred military vehicles moved from Spain to Poland within four days,” said Mr. Stoltenberg. He stressed that NATO will continue to work to improve freedom of movement for Allied troops and equipment, because speed can make the difference when a crisis emerges.
The Secretary General underscored that Allies must spend more on defence to sustain this shift in NATO’s defence posture. He highlighted that, following a long decline in defence spending, 2015 was the first year after many when the Alliance registered a small increase in defence spending. “Our estimates for 2016 show a further increase,” said Mr. Stoltenberg. The annual real change stands at around 1.5 percent, an increase of over 3 billion dollars, with twenty Allies planning to spend more on defence in real terms this year. “So this is real progress. After many years of going in the wrong direction, we are starting to go into the right direction,” he said.
This week, Defence Ministers will also discuss how NATO can expand its efforts to project stability beyond its borders, strengthening local forces in the fight against terrorism. “We will also consider providing AWACS surveillance planes to support the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL,” said the Secretary General. He added that ministers will assess what more NATO can do in the wider Mediterranean Sea, for instance in support of the European Union’s Operation Sophia.
On Tuesday, Ministers will discuss the future of cooperation between NATO and the European Union, together with High Representative Mogherini and Ministers from Finland and Sweden. Mr. Stoltenberg noted that ministers will also explore additional assistance for Ukraine and Georgia. “On Wednesday, we will meet the Ukrainian Defence Minister in the NATO-Ukraine Commission. We are concerned about the security situation, amid continued ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.