NATO Secretary General talks of “special partnership” with Georgia after meeting with President Saakashvili

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen praised Georgia’s commitment to NATO and to domestic reforms on 3 April as he welcomed President Mikheil Saakashvili to the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.

“Georgia is a special partner for NATO. You are committed to our operations, to NATO accession, and committed to reforms … In all, Georgia is a model partner,” the Secretary General said.

Georgia already contributes the second-largest non-NATO contingent to the NATO-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan, and has approved plans to almost double the force.

“Your troops are doing an outstanding job, shoulder to shoulder with NATO troops, under challenging circumstances,” the Secretary General stressed.

In March, NATO Allies and Georgia agreed a set of measures to further support the reform process in Georgia, including strengthening civil service reform, boosting inter-operability with the Alliance and reinforcing the capacity for civil democratic oversight of the defence and security sector.

This will support Georgia’s reforms, increase the ability of NATO and Georgia to operate together, and strengthen the capacity of the Georgian institutions as they continue their Euro-Atlantic integration.

This is a long road, and we are taking it one step at a time. But you have already made good progress. And I trust that you will continue with your progress, and your reforms, as you approach the parliamentary elections this year. Those elections will be an important test for Georgia’s democracy and a chance to show how far you have come,” the Secretary General said.

After the meeting with the Secretary General, the President addressed NATO Allies in a session of the NATO-Georgia Commission.

Georgia has been seeking full membership of NATO but the Alliance has so far stopped short of starting the membership process.

source: LINKS Analysis with

photo: Rasmussen and Saakashvili at a Press Conference after their meeting (picture courtesy of NATO Information Service.