NATO provides Georgia with updated assistance program

Georgian forces help troubled south |🇦🇫 NATO in Afghanistan

Georgian leaders expressed gratitude to the North Atlantic Alliance for the support in the Atlantic integration of the country

Georgia is moving forward towards NATO integration. Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said this at a briefing in Tbilisi on December 3, summing up the results of the virtual ministerial of the NATO member states, which took place on December 1-2 in Brussels. It is noteworthy that in addition to the heads of the foreign affairs agencies of the states, the ministers of foreign affairs of Georgia and Ukraine took part in the meetings in the alliance..

Zalkaliani said that the ministerial unanimously approved an updated substantial package of NATO-Georgia measures, which, thanks to the presence of new components, including military ones, will significantly strengthen Georgia’s defense capability and bring the country closer to NATO..

«This package primarily implies strengthening the defense capability of Georgia. In particular – further strengthening the NATO-Georgia Joint Training Center and expanding its capabilities, greater involvement of NATO partners in ensuring security in the Black Sea, more visits by NATO ships to Georgian ports, as well as strengthening exercises and equating our naval forces with NATO standards. The updated package takes into account secure communication, which is important for obtaining secure channels of communication with NATO at a time when there are various hybrid threats in the world, including cyberattacks», – told Zalkaliani.

Appreciation for NATO Support and Policy Preservation «open doors» Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia also expressed his opinion about Georgia on December 3.

«All this is fundamentally important for our country.», – said the prime minister of Georgia.

«Build up efforts»

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a December 2 press conference following the virtual ministerial that the alliance’s message «was very clear: the allies are ready to step up efforts in various fields, in providing practical support to Ukraine and Georgia».

«Russia continues to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine, it continues its military build-up in Crimea and increases the number of forces in the Black Sea region. NATO responds by strengthening its presence on land, at sea and in the air … The Alliance also encourages allies to provide assistance at a bilateral level. Several countries, such as Canada and the United States, provide bilateral assistance that is important to both countries and to support NATO’s efforts in the region.», – stated Stoltenberg.

On the need to expand and strengthen partnerships with Georgia and Ukraine, «as with vulnerable democracies that aspire to NATO membership and are under constant internal and external pressure from Russia», says the report of the NATO expert group presented at the Brussels ministerial.

Opposition opinion

The Georgian opposition states, however, that for the development of relations with NATO, it is important that the country overcomes the political crisis that came after the October 31 parliamentary elections..

«It is necessary that the country has a high level of democracy, there is no political persecution, there are no questions in connection with the elections, and the political crisis is resolved as a result of dialogue and rational steps. This is the prerequisite for NATO membership, not just statements from our friends.»,– a spokesman for the opposition «European Georgia» Sergi Kapanadze.

Eight Georgian opposition parties, which in the first round of elections gained enough votes to get into parliament, accuse the authorities of falsifying the voting results and refuse to take a seat in parliament in protest, demanding the appointment of a repeat election.

NATO provides Georgia with updated assistance program

At the same time, Georgia’s international partners, including the United States, recognize the legitimacy of the October 31 elections in Georgia and believe that in order to reveal the seriousness of violations, the opposition should seek this not by boycotting, but by appealing the violations in court..

With the mediation of the US and EU ambassadors in Georgia, two rounds of negotiations were held with the participation of representatives of all parties that made it to the new parliament; there were also separate meetings with each of the opposition leaders. However, the opposition did not change its decision to boycott the second round of elections, which took place on November 21..

In addition, the parties agreed on a decision that another, third round of negotiations between the opposition and the ruling «Georgian Dream».

Georgia and NATO

Georgia has been cooperating with NATO since 1992. The Georgian military took part in the alliance’s international missions, including in Afghanistan, where they are still. Georgia regularly participates in NATO military exercises. There is a training center on the territory of the country designed for joint training of military personnel from the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance, partner countries and the Georgian military. NATO actively supports Georgia’s reforms towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

Let us remind that Tbilisi has been expressing its intention to join the Alliance for more than ten years. Since 2008, after each summit, the NATO leadership assures Georgia that in the future the country will definitely become a member of the North Atlantic Alliance and that this depends on the success of the reforms carried out in the country..

Russia is categorically opposed to the expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance to the east. Speaking about Georgia in September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that «NATO’s approach to our borders poses a threat to Russia». In connection with the possibility of Georgia joining NATO, Lavrov then said the following: «We will not start a war, I promise you that. But our relations with the North Atlantic Alliance and those countries that make joining it their first priority will be seriously undermined.».

NATO provides Georgia with updated assistance program