Jens Stoltenberg: There is more NATO in Georgia, but also more Georgia in NATO than we have seen before

There is more NATO in Georgia, but also more Georgia in NATO than we have seen before, - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a joint news conference after a meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia.

According to him, the good thing is that we see that Georgia and NATO are now working more closely together than they ever before.

“Let me just start by commending Georgia for the progress Georgia has made over several years on implementing reforms to strengthen their democratic institutions, to strengthen democratic oversight over intelligence security services, strengthen democratic control over the armed forces and implement reforms in many other areas. I have, in particular, underlined the importance of continuing reforming the judiciary, and also making sure the full democratic oversight of the security services. Georgia has made and is making progress on all these areas, and we welcome and encourage further focus on reform, and we also discussed that during our meeting.

The good thing is that we see that Georgia and NATO are now working more closely together than they ever before. As we have stated there is more NATO in Georgia, but also more Georgia in NATO than we have seen before, and step-by-step we are doing more together.

Recently we have focused on the Black Sea region maritime capabilities, working together with our maritime command in the United Kingdom, and some support for the coast guard port visits by NATO ships. And we have also recognised during our conversation today the strategic importance of the Black Sea region for Georgia, for NATO Allies. And, therefore, I welcome everything we can do together in that vein.

We are now looking into whether we can add more elements to our cooperation, and that includes air traffic data; whether we can improve the way we share information about the radar picture, air traffic. Again, good for Georgia, good for NATO Allies in the region, which, where we have seen the substantial Russian build-up over the last years.

We're also working closely on how to do more together to address hybrid threats. And we are holding exercises together in the Black Sea region, such as the recent exercise, Noble Partner. And, as the Prime Minister mentioned, we are now working on how to refresh the substantial NATO-Georgia package.

So the thing is that, step-by-step, we do more together, and not least, we are extremely grateful for Georgia's strong commitment to NATO's training mission in Afghanistan. Georgia has for many years been one of the countries at the top level of contributions to that mission. And we strongly believe that it is important we are ready to stay committed to Afghanistan, because that's the best way we can support the peace efforts.

So again, we are grateful for the close cooperation with Georgia. We commend them for the progress you are making. And then we look forward to further strengthening our partnership and moving towards full Euro-Atlantic integration”, said the Secretary General.

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