Georgian, NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels, mull cooperation

Thu 04 October 2018 07:54 GMT | 07:54 Local Time

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The sides also discussed the security situation in the Black Sea region

Georgia's Defense Minister Levan Izoria participated in the NATO-Georgia Commission meeting, held in the frames of the NATO Defense Ministerial in Brussels on October 3-4, Civil.ge reports.

At the Commission meeting, Allies welcomed “the continued progress” Georgia is making on “more effective security and defense institutions and modernizing its armed forces.” They also discussed the security situation in the Black Sea region, which according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg “is of shared concern to NATO Allies and Georgia.”

“NATO-Georgia Commission meeting today showed, that this is something that is of benefit, both for NATO and for Georgia. This is about protecting each other. This is about supporting each other. This is about helping each other and this is about learning from each other and it’s about facing common security challenges together,” the SG stressed after the meeting.

Secretary General Stoltenberg also noted that the Alliance appreciates “the close partnership” with Georgia, and that it was “strongly expressed” by all Allies at the commission meeting. According to Stoltenberg, NATO “deeply appreciates” Georgia’s contributions to the shared security, and is working together with the country “more closely than ever before.”

In the pre-ministerial press conference on October 2, Stoltenberg said Georgia would become a member of the Alliance “when it meets the NATO standards.”

“It’s only for Georgia and 29 NATO Allies to decide when that will happen. No other country, including Russia, has any right to interfere in such a process,” he said, noting that the country would not “be forced to choose between its territorial integrity and membership of NATO.”

Ahead of the NATO-Georgia Commission meeting on October 3, Minister Izoria had a bilateral meeting with Jens Stoltenberg.

In Brussels, he also met with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, discussing the country’s defense capabilities and interoperability with NATO. According to the Department of Defense, the sides agreed “to continue deterring Russian aggression through U.S. security assistance, and support defense initiatives to develop long-term readiness and NATO interoperability.”

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