NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after meeting with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili in Brussels on May 11 that implementation of the substantial package of cooperation with Georgia is “well on track.”
Stoltenberg reiterated that NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center, which is one of the components of the substantial package, will be established in Georgia this year.
“Georgia is moving closer to NATO,” he said at a news conference after the meeting.” We are looking forward to continue working with you on this path.”
“Today we also discussed Georgia’s progress in making the defence sector more transparent and accountable. We have seen significant progress. We welcome the ambitious plans you have announced for this year. We encourage you to deepen your democratic reforms. That includes strengthening the independence of the judiciary, and the rule of law,” the NATO Secretary General said.
Stoltenberg thanked Georgia for its “remarkable role” in NATO-led operation in Afghanistan, where Georgia is now the second largest troop contributor to Resolute Support mission with about 885 servicemen, down from its peak of about 1,600 during ISAF mission. Under the Resolute Support mission the Georgian troops’ duties focus on security and rapid reaction force. As Chief of General Staff of Georgian Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Vakhtang Kapanadze said, when he visited Afghanistan in April, “since the change of the mission our troop numbers have decreased, but our responsibilities have increased.”
Georgian troops are stationed in Kabul; Bagram Airfield and at the German army’s Camp Marmal in Mazar-i-Sharif.
“NATO is committed to help Georgia make its defence still more modern. This will help you move closer to your aspiration of NATO membership,” Stoltenberg said.
President Margvelashvili reiterated Georgia’s aspiration to join NATO and said: “Georgia will continue its path towards democracy, towards introduction of values, which the alliance has been built upon, as well as will continue our… military cooperation.”