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NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg offers reassurance

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, October 8
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s statements regarding Eastern European countries have caused irritation in Russia. The essential question for Georgia now is, how the statements and a new strategy of NATO will be reflected on NATO aspirant countries.

Speaking to Poland’s NTB TV, the newly appointed Secretary General said that NATO should provide its members in the East the same confidence Norway experienced once. He promised security to Poland and protection against possible threats from Russia.

“We in Norway understand how important the security that NATO provides. Now we need to give the same reassurances to the countries that are in the East. I will show Poland and other eastern allies that NATO is behind them, that they are part of an alliance that guarantees all the member countries' safety,” Stoltenberg told NTB in Warsaw.

However, the second statement made for TVP was stronger, stating that the alliance had a very strong army and could deploy it anywhere NATO wished. Stoltenberg explained later that he did not say “where it wished” and it was an interpreter’s mistake, but even without the wording, the content of the statement was strong enough.

Georgian analysts believe that the statements were a step forward, as NATO recognized Russia as a threat and it appears that it will assist its members and potential member countries, including Georgia and Ukraine. Of course, NATO cannot deploy its forces in Georgia, as based on its doctrine the alliance does not have the right to deploy its forces on a non-member country’s territory.

Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said that the statements were logical, as during the NATO Wales Summit, participant states agreed that financial levers against the Russian threat were not enough. The minister stated that the alliance also promised the support of NATO non-member countries in raising their defense capacities.

Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze welcomed the new leader’s interest in the Eastern Partnership countries and hoped for more details regarding support from the alliance.

Analyst Tornike Sharashenidze believes that deploying of NATO forces in Georgia will be hard, as such a solution requires the consent of all NATO member countries.

Fellow analyst Giorgi Tavdgiridze thinks that NATO would be firm in its decisions. Concerning the deployment of NATO forces in Georgia, the analyst thinks that currently, Georgia does not require such a step, as we do not face any serious threat at the moment.

As it appears, NATO’s new strategy does not directly concern Georgia. However, it would be a serious message for Russia, especially with regard to Ukraine, which is currently a major headache for Russia.