NATO is to increase its military presence in the Black Sea region, with six member states including the USA, Germany and Turkey set to dispatch additional air, land and naval forces to the region. The announcement was made by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a joint summit of NATO defence ministers held in Brussels on October 26th - 27th.
Stoltenberg noted that the alliance is concerned by increasing Russian military activity along the borders of NATO member states, and called the organisation’s response ‘defensive’ and ‘proportionate’.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Mikheil Janelidze welcomed Stoltenberg’s announcement: “We welcome that NATO will not only increase its presence and activities in the Black Sea region, but will also support the efforts of the littoral countries aimed at ensuring security and stability in the region.”
“It is important that the Alliance has started to take specific steps to bolster security in the Black Sea region. It should be emphasized that Georgia, in its respective formats, participates in the NATO discussions regarding the Black Sea security,” Janelidze said and noted that the Georgia Government “is committed to continue its contribution to the security of the Euro-Atlantic area, and of the Black Sea region as its integral part.”
Georgia is often described as being NATO’s star student. At the 2008 Bucharest Summit, Georgia was promised NATO membership. Georgia has participated in a number of NATO’s international missions and is one of the largest non-member contributors the Organisation’s International Security Assistance Force. After the 2014 Wales Summit Georgia received a substantial package for a training center in order to prepare for membership.
The Warsaw Summit [July 2016] declaration spoke about Georgia extensively and pointed out the importance of the 2016 parliamentary elections. It reiterated the fact that Georgia has the potential to a member of NATO and that the Membership Action Plan continues to be an integral part of the process. NATO recognizes the progress Georgia has achieved on its path to integration and has promised continued support to Georgia’s defense capabilities.