PM Bakhtadze: It is in NATO’s best interests to bring Georgia closer to its membership

“It is in NATO’s best interests to bring Georgia closer to its membership and it is now time to take steps in this direction, as we have a window of opportunity to do so,” Georgia’s Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze said.

"Our choice to become a member of EU and NATO is not only political. It is a civilization choice of my nation; a value based and driven choice," Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia, said today addressing the audience gathered at the Roundtable Meeting on NATO Enlargement held within the scope of Munich Security Conference (MSC).

Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference; Rose Gottemoeller, Deputy Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO); Radmila Sekerinska, Minister of Defense of North Macedonia and leading experts of the world attended the meeting.

As PM’s Press Office informs, Georgia’s PM thanked them for supporting Georgia and noted that accession to NATO remains a top priority of the foreign policy of Georgia.

"After the end of Cold War, NATO enlargement has been instrumental in building security, peace and democratic development of Eastern European nations. Today, we are pleased to see that Open Door policy keeps working and brings tangible results to nations that aspire to join the Alliance and spare no effort to achieve their goal" added the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Mamuka Bakhtadze congratulated the Republic of North Macedonia on a historic achievement manifested in the signing of the NATO Accession Protocol a week before and welcomed clear prospects of membership opening up for other nations.

"Georgia, as an aspirant country is encouraged by the success and we hope that this process stimulates our NATO integration as well. NATO membership remains a top foreign policy priority for Georgia - our choice is based upon shared values as well as on a very high and consistent public support to Georgia's NATO membership. We see our future within Europe and NATO and my government does its best to further advance in this process. Since the historic decision of the Bucharest Summit in 2008 we came a long way. Today, Georgia is a stable democracy with strong state institutions, vibrant civil society and free media. Our reforms are widely recognized as exemplary and our partners often mention that Georgia is a front runner among NATO aspirant countries. Our Defense Forces are highly interoperable with NATO. With the support of the Alliance and our strategic partners, we continue further strengthening our defense capabilities. As an aspirant country and reliable partner of NATO, Georgia continues its contribution to shared Euro-Atlantic security. We do hope that our achievements will translate into tangible steps that bring Georgia even closer to NATO membership," the Prime Minister said.

Mamuka Bakhtadze focused on the comprehensive political dialogue pursued with NATO and excellent practical cooperation existing in a number of directions.

"At the same time, we need to look forward and accelerate political side of our integration. Bringing Georgia even closer to NATO will help to improve significantly the overall security situation in Euro-Atlantic area, which concerns both NATO members and partner countries. Georgia is an essential element of the Black Sea security and wider - Euro-Atlantic security as well. Significance of the country will only grow with the realization of the regional projects that are currently underway. While NATO membership is critical for Georgia, it is in NATO's best interests to bring it closer to membership. In our view it is now time to take steps in this direction, as we have a window of opportunity to do so. Hesitation to act will not help us in dealing with challenges we face. Further enlargement of NATO is the most viable option of enhanced peace and security in Europe. Georgia's excellent performance creates a very solid base for it. I am confident that together with the Allies, partners and friends we will find the ways to overcome remaining challenges and take Georgia's membership process to a substantially higher level. And let me once again repeat that our choice to become a member of EU and NATO is not only political. It is a civilization choice of my nation; a value based and driven choice. Thank you for being such big friends of Georgia!" concluded the Prime Minister of Georgia.

The event held within the frameworks of the 55th Munich Security Conference (MSC) was co-organized by the Georgia's Defense and Security Conference (GDSC). Political and practical aspects of accession to NATO were reviewed by David Zalkaliani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and Levan Izoria, Minister of Defense of Georgia. Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference and Radmila Sekerinska, Minister of Defense of North Macedonia also addressed the audience.