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Stoltenberg: Georgia won’t be forced to choose between its territories and NATO

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, October 3
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that Georgia will not have to make a choice between its territorial integrity and the membership of NATO, Stoltenberg said while responding to the question of the Georgian media at the conference in Brussels on Tuesday.

The NATO Secretary General said that Georgia would become the alliance member when it meets the NATO standards.

"All NATO leaders agreed on the same position in July that Georgia will become a member of the alliance. We also stated clearly ones again that we fully support the territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders and it includes the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Georgia will not be forced to choose between its territorial integrity and membership of NATO.

“So, Georgia will become a member when it meets the NATO standards,” Stoltenberg says.

He stated that NATO will help Georgia with implementing democratic reforms, strengthening democratic institutions and “meantime, we welcome the fact that we have more NATO in Georgia and more Georgia in NATO.”

It has been long speculated that Georgian occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali and Russia’s role hinder Georgia’s NATO membership.

Georgia was told at 2008 NATO summit that it will become the NATO member and the alliance reiterated this year that NATO door still remains open for the country.

Georgia is one of the top contributors for the NATO peace missions and spends 2 percent of its GDP on defense.

Russian President Vladimir Putin claims that Georgia’s NATO membership will provide “fatal consequences.”