Secretary General of North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Jens Stoltenberg commented on NATO-Georgia relations during his visit to Washington D.C.
Stoltenberg clearly stated that the alliance is ready for the acceptance of new members.
“Georgia is implementing impressive reforms, strengthening their democratic institutions, modernising their defence institutional structures, and fighting corruption; and all of this is partly at least because of the aspirations to join NATO”, stated Stoltenberg.
According to the Secretary General, a country like Georgia has double aims when making reforms, meaning that even in case the reasons do not include getting closer to the alliance, corruption should still be fighted and democratic institutions should be strengthened.
Stoltenberg emphasized that only members of the alliance have the right to decide issues connected to membership.
“So NATO’s door is open, and we will continue to stress the message that the enlargement or whether NATO is going to have more members it is up to an applicant country to decide and 28 (soon to be 29) countries that are members and no one else has the right to intervene”, said Stoltenberg.
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.