NATO-Georgia relations

Patriarchate of Georgia: Our Assumptions were Wrong about NATO

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The working visit of the Patriarchate of Georgia to Brussels has come to an end. In the official statement regarding the visit, the Georgian Patriarchate suggested that NATO and other European institutions had come to an erroneous conclusion about the Georgian church, and that the Georgian church had also made wrong assumptions regarding certain aspects of NATO and EU policies.

“...We found out that both in NATO and in the Georgian church we had wrong assumptions about each other. For example, in Georgia, religion classes aren’t included school curricula. [It was thought that they were because] in Belgium, the government supports the willingness of youth to study religion if they want to”, says the statement.

The Patriarchate of Georgia has also pointed out that there are no signs of recommendations on the approval of same sex marriage in any official documents.

The statement further reads, “Several forces in society are against the definition of marriage as being solely between a man and a woman, because this would further hinder European integration. During [our] meetings, it was clearly stated that no official EU docments recommend the legalization of same - sex marriage. Several EU member states have defined marriage as a union between man and woman and it is acceptable for EU institutions.”

The statement ends by saying that the church respects people’s choices. In addition, it says that “it is important for the Georgian church to have good and neighborly relations with all states.”

The “NATO-Georgia Exercise 2016” officially began on November 10. According to the Ministry of Defence, the “NATO-Georgia Exercise 2016” is being conducted in the framework of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, endorsed in 2014 during the Wales Summit.

In addition, 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 26 - 27.

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 declaration of July 2016 spoke about Georgia extensively and pointed out the importance of the 2016 parliamentary elections. It reiterated the fact that Georgia has the potential to be 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.

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