NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrives in Tbilisi
25 March, 2019
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrives in Tbilisi
The NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has arrived in Tbilisi. Within the frameworks of the visit, Jens Stoltenberg will have meetings with the President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, the Prime Minister, Mamuka Bakhtadze, the Chairman of the Parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze and other high level officials.

The Secretary General will visit the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre (JTEC) together with the Minister of Defence, Levan Izoria, where he will receive a briefing on the NATO-Georgia Exercise.

Joint press-conference of NATO Secretary
General Jens Stoltenberg and Georgian PM Mamuka Bakhtadze

“Georgia's NATO membership is not only a political choice, but a choice based on values” - Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze said at a joint press conference after meeting with the NATO Secretary General.

Bakhtadze thanked the Secretary General for supporting Georgia.
Joint press-conference of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Georgian PM Mamuka Bakhtadze

"First of all, I want to start with the fact that relations between Georgia and NATO have never been at such a high level. The visit of Mr. Secretary General stresses that NATO supports Georgia's membership in the Alliance and supports our country in this process. We appreciate that the Secretary General will also attend the NATO-Georgia exercises, which aim to further strengthen our defense capabilities and enhance interoperability with NATO. I would like to take a chance to thank all the countries participating in the exercises.

NATO membership is the most important priority of Georgia's foreign and security policy, and most of the Georgian society supports Georgia's efforts to become a full member of NATO. This is another proof that our choice is not only a political choice, but a choice based on values" - the Prime Minister of Georgia stated.

“I hope we will soon welcome you to NATO” - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference.

The NATO Secretary General called on Russia to revoke its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states and withdraw its troops from these territories.
"We support Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. We urge Russia to revoke the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states and withdraw its troops from these territories.

We welcome the increased role of Black Sea security. That is why we are strengthening relations between Georgia and NATO and this cooperation will strengthen in every direction. We will see what can be done in this direction within the multinational training.

I thank you for hospitality. We continue working together to prepare Georgia for NATO membership. Georgia is the largest contributor to our initiatives and I hope to welcome you to NATO soon" - Stoltenberg said.

“Georgia and NATO will jointly decide when Georgia should become a member of NATO and no other party has the right to interfere” - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference, when asked about the factor of Russia in the mentioned process.

"It is crucial for NATO that all nations have the freedom of making their own decisions. Georgia is a sovereign state and no one can take decisions instead of it. All nations have the right to choose their own future. When we are ready, Georgia will become a member of NATO, it's up to Nato and Georgia and not any other state" - Stoltenberg said.

According to him, Georgia should implement reforms, including in the judiciary and defense sector; Georgia should meet NATO standards in order to become an alliance member.
Joint press-conference of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Georgian PM Mamuka Bakhtadze

“Georgia has made a lot of progress in important reforms” - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference.

“Georgia has made a lot of progress in important reforms, including strengthening Parliament’s role in overseeing the security sector. And the reform of Georgia’s judiciary. I was glad to hear that these efforts will continue.

Your efforts to modernise the armed forces and to build more effective defence institutions have also been very impressive. I also welcome your commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence. And I congratulate Georgia for spending 20% of GDP on equipment and modernisation.
This strengthens your military. And your contribution to regional security.
I welcome your efforts in all these areas. And I encourage you to continue making full use of all the opportunities for coming closer to the Alliance. And to prepare for membership” - the NATO Secretary General said.

Meeting between NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili

“This is a very big indication for the Georgian population that the path chosen by us has no alternative” - President Salome Zourabichvili said at the meeting with the NATO Secretary General.

"We are very happy and honored that Georgia, together with you, is once again hosting NATO exercises, which is a very serious message about our relationship. This is a very big indication for the Georgian population that the path chosen by us has no alternative. We will carry out military or political reforms to keep moving forward on this path" - Zourabichvili said.

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