NATO-Georgia military cooperation is “constructive, pragmatic and exemplary,” chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Knud Bartels, said after meeting Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili in Tbilisi on February 11.
“I have noted that Georgia has made solid progress in its defense reforms, which allows for excellent military cooperation at all levels between Georgia and NATO,” he said.
Noting that Georgia is the largest non-NATO contributor to the coalition forces in Afghanistan, the Danish General also welcomed Georgia’s commitment to support NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces after 2014 and to participate in the NATO Response Forces in 2015.
“This dynamism in terms of military engagement is a significant demonstration of Georgia’s commitment to NATO and we look forward to enhancing military cooperation after 2014,” Gen. Bartels said.
NATO Military Committee, which is the primary source of military advice to the Alliance’s civilian decision-making bodies, started its two-day visit to Georgia on February 11. The Committee, made up of senior military officers from NATO member states, will hold a session in Tbilisi on February 12 with the participation of chief of general staff of the Georgian armed forces, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze.
President Margvelashvili said after meeting with Gen. Bartels that “formats” of Georgia’s NATO integration were discussed during the meeting. He said that Georgia offers NATO to make the country one of the routes for reverse transit of the ISAF forces and cargoes from Afghanistan.
Margvelashvili said that NATO Military Committee’s visit itself demonstrates Alliance’s “firm support” to Georgia, which is an important impetus for further deepening of our relations.”
He expressed hope that Georgia’s progress in reforms would be “appropriately” evaluated at the NATO summit in Wales in September, 2014, which, he said, would hopefully bring NATO-Georgia cooperation to a “new stage”.
Also on February 11, Gen. Bartels met Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Defense Minister Irakli Alasania.