NATO FMs Welcome Georgia’s Progress, Reiterate Support for Membership

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani, together with his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin, held a meeting with the North Atlantic Council (NAC) convened at the level of foreign ministers, in Brussels on December 4-5.

In his opening remarks on December 4, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said “NATO fully supports the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of both countries, and we continue to provide strong, tailored political and practical support for both Georgia and Ukraine.”

At a press conference following the meeting, the Secretary General said, the Allies “greatly value” their “unique partnerships” with Georgia and Ukraine, both of which contribute to the shared security “in different ways,” and that NATO “remains committed” to strengthening ties with the two countries.

At our meeting today, we agreed to continue working together to prepare #Georgia for #NATO membership. We recognised the significant progress 🇬🇪 has made with its reforms & we thanked Georgia for its major contributions to our mission in #Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/ady9JYuTob

— Oana Lungescu (@NATOpress) December 4, 2018

“All NATO Allies met with Ukraine and Georgia and sent a very clear message about our support. We are present in Georgia, we are present in Ukraine; and they committed to continue and to deepen the cooperation with both Georgia and Ukraine,” he also noted.

“At our meeting today, we agreed to continue working together to prepare Georgia for NATO membership. We recognized the significant progress Georgia has made with its reforms, and we thanked Georgia for its major contributions to our mission in Afghanistan,” he added.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended the ministerial meeting as well. He said: “U.S. and NATO Allies strongly support the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and NATO aspirations of Georgia and Ukraine. We value their contributions and cooperation and are encouraged by progress made toward meeting NATO standards and values.”

U.S. and @NATO Allies strongly support the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and NATO aspirations of Georgia and Ukraine. We value their contributions and cooperation and are encouraged by progress made toward meeting #NATO standards and values. pic.twitter.com/16ESJy5a7E

— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 5, 2018

According to the special briefing of a Senior State Department Official, the U.S. “sent a very clear and strong message of support for both of these countries, joining them in their stand against Russian aggression, both externally with regard to territorial acts of aggression and internally with regard to the building of democracy and continued efforts at reform.”

The Senior Official also welcomed the fact that Georgia’s Presidential elections “went off as smoothly as they did,” but expressed concerns about its “numerous irregularities.” “[We] are very watchful now in how the Georgians implement their new constitution, and I think the early part of next year will be a test for democratic institutions in Georgia.”

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