Thursday, September 8, 2016

NATO chief reaffirms Georgia's membership prospect

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that Georgia will become a member of NATO if all the requirements for membership were fulfilled.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili after the NATO-Georgia Commission meeting here, the NATO chief said that the alliance has a "remarkable, mutually supportive relationship" with Georgia and "the partnership is getting even stronger."

"We decided at the NATO Warsaw summit to reaffirm the decision we made in Bucharest that Georgia will become a member of NATO. But to become a member of NATO, Georgia has to meet the standards, requirements for membership," Stoltenberg said when asked about the timetable of Georgia's NATO accession.

"No one else has the right to interfere or try to veto that process and NATO will continue to enlarge," he said.

Georgia has great prospect for joining NATO, he said, adding that Georgia has all the necessary tools to move towards NATO membership, including the NATO-Georgia Commission, the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package,Joint Training and Evaluation Centre and presence of NATO experts in Tbilisi to help promote Georgia's defense reforms.

For his part, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili reiterated Georgia will continue its "consistent" reform efforts and "wait patiently" for the window of opportunity for joining NATO.

"Majority of Georgian population supports NATO membership. I want to reassure our partners that dynamic of this progress will be maintained and Georgia will achieve its eventual goal of joining NATO" , said the Prime Minister.

The North Atlantic Council led by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg started a three-day visit to Tbilisi on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Jens Stoltenberg will meet President Giorgi Margvelashvili and visit the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre outside Tbilisi, which was inaugurated in August 2015.

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