Speaking in the Black Sea city of Batumi after a meeting with Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili on Friday (4 October), NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller thanked the President for hosting the North Atlantic Council. She said that the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package has been a success story in the five years since it was created, strengthening Georgia’s interoperability with the Alliance and making Georgian armed forces more capable. “Allies have now decided to conduct a refresh as we call it or a strengthening of the package by 2020, updating and improving our cooperation”, she said.
Ms. Gottemoeller highlighted that NATO and Georgia are also developing dialogue and cooperation on the Black Sea region. She welcomed Georgia’s offer to continue providing logistical support to NATO and Allies, and said that NATO is working with Georgia to strengthen interoperability, including with the ongoing training of the Coast Guard boarding teams. “Georgia is demonstrating that it is an exporter of security. A net security provider. Your country remains the largest non-NATO troop contributor to our mission in Afghanistan. We welcome the reforms that you have put in place. Strengthening your democratic institutions and the rule of law, and modernising your armed forces. We will work with you as you continue on this path”, she said. The Deputy Secretary General reaffirmed that NATO fully supports “Georgia’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognised borders” and that the Alliance calls on Russia “to reverse its recognition of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia”, noting that “These territories are part of Georgia and we will never recognize them as anything else”.
Ms. Gottemoeller recalled that at the NATO Summit in Brussels in July 2018 NATO leaders reconfirmed the Bucharest decisions from 2008, that Georgia will become a member of NATO. “That decision has not changed. And we are committed to continuing to work closely together to prepare your country for NATO membership”, she said.
Earlier in the day, Deputy Secretary General Gottemoeller met with Minister of Foreign Affairs David Zalkaliani and Minister of Defence Irakli Garibashvili. She also visited the Georgian Coast Guard vessels Dioskuria and Ochamchire and met with Minister of Interior Vakhtang Gomelauri. While in Batumi, the Deputy Secretary General also had a meeting with the Chairman of the Georgian Parliament Archil Talakvadze. Ms. Gottemoeller also received the Order of the Golden Fleece Award and thanked President Zourabichvili for this very special honour.