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NATO Deputy Head: Georgia Much More Closer to NATO than Before

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, September 24
Georgia is much closer to NATO than before - NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said in Tbilisi on Friday.

She stated that Georgia is in “excellent shape” with regard to its relations with NATO, to which attests the Allied Leaders’ statement at the July Summit that Georgia will join the Alliance in line with the Bucharest Summit decision in 2008.

Gottemoeller reaffirmed that Georgia is high on the agenda of the Alliance. “Georgia has played a central role over the course of past 10 years in enhancing the NATO-Georgia dialogue and deepening practical cooperation” – she said.

She claimed that Georgia as a reliable partner of the Alliance, Georgia is one of the biggest contributors to NATO training operations in Afghanistan, supporting the county to achieve stability.

Gottemoeller expressed her concern over Russia’s military build-up in the Black Sea region stating that Georgia’s involvement in strengthening Black Sea security will be of paramount importance.

She stated that “NATO fully supports Georgia’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, including the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. We call on Russia to withdraw its troops from the country.

Gottemoeller added that NATO “highly appraises” the progress Georgia has made in terms of reforms, including in terms of economic development, the creation of more effective security and defense institutions and modernization of armed forces. She said that NATO Georgia Substantial Package has already played an important role in enhancing Georgia’s defense capabilities.

“I call on you to continue on this path leading you to membership of the Alliance. NATO, in the meantime, will assist Georgia in its preparations for membership” - Gottemoeller said.