Joint statement of the NATO-Georgia Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers
8 July 2016, Warsaw, Poland
- We, Allied Foreign Ministers and the Foreign Minister of Georgia, met today in Warsaw, Poland, in the NATO-Georgia Commission (NGC) to discuss progress and priorities in cooperation between Georgia and NATO, as well as current international security issues. This was the first NATO-Georgia Commission at a NATO Summit. Allied Ministers congratulated Georgia on its 25 years of Independence and the significant progress it has made in that time. They also recognized the unique scope and depth of Georgia’s relationship with the Alliance. In light of this relationship, Allied Ministers welcomed Georgia’s engagement in strategic discussion on Black Sea security and recent developments in the region affecting Euro-Atlantic security.
- We welcome the significant progress that has been made in implementing the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP) since it was launched by NATO Heads of State and Government at the Wales Summit. Since then, the Joint Training and Evaluation Centre has started work, and Allied Command Transformation has been tasked to affiliate the JTEC with the training and exercise work of the Alliance. In addition, more than 30 Allied and partner security experts are in Georgia supporting security reform efforts, including in areas such as cyber defence, aviation and logistics. The Defence Institution Building School has been inaugurated, and will provide a first pilot course this month. The first ever NATO-Georgia exercise, open to partners, has taken place, and the next NATO-Georgia exercise will be held in November of this year. Allies will support and contribute to NATO exercises open to partners, held in Georgia on a regular basis as agreed in the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package.
- We have also decided on new steps to intensify our cooperation, to help strengthen Georgia’s defence capabilities, interoperability and resilience capabilities. These initiatives include increased support for Georgia’s Training and Education, including through a possible trust fund project, and Strategic Communications. Allies will provide support to the development of Georgia’s air defence and air surveillance. Allies bilaterally are implementing programmes to enhance Georgia’s self-defence and resilience. We will also deepen our focus on security in the Black Sea region.
- Both the existing and new initiatives aim to strengthen Georgia’s defence and interoperability capabilities with the Alliance and are helping Georgia, an aspirant country, progress in its preparations towards membership.
- Foreign Minister Janelidze reaffirmed Georgia’s determination to achieve NATO membership, which is a top foreign policy priority for Georgia. The Minister updated the Allies on the security situation in the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia and the dynamic of the Geneva International Discussions. He also briefed the Allies on Georgia’s confidence building and engagement policy within the framework of the “State strategy on the occupied territories”. He expressed gratitude for Allied support for Georgia’s membership aspirations, as well as for the contribution to Georgia’s defence capabilities, including through the SNGP. Minister Janelidze reiterated Georgia’s commitment to continue comprehensive reforms across the areas set out in the ANP. He welcomed Montenegro’s accession to the Alliance as a demonstration of NATO’s commitment to the Open Door Policy. The Minister also expressed gratitude for NATO’s firm support of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- NATO Ministers commended the steady progress made by Georgia towards stronger democracy, economic development and more effective defence institutions and modernised armed forces. Allied Ministers encouraged Georgia to sustain the momentum in its overall reforms, which NATO will continue to support. NATO ministers looked forward to the October 2016 Parliamentary elections being conducted in accordance with the highest democratic standards.
- At the 2008 Bucharest Summit, Allies agreed that Georgia will become a member of NATO with MAP as an integral part of the process; Allies reaffirm all elements of that decision, as well as subsequent decisions. We welcome the significant progress realised since 2008. Georgia’s relationship with the Alliance contains all the practical tools to prepare for eventual membership. Allies encourage Georgia to continue making full use of all the opportunities for coming closer to the Alliance offered by the NATO-Georgia Commission, the Annual National Programme, its role as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner, its participation in our Defence Capacity Building Initiative and the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, as well as the Interoperability Platform.
- Allies highly appreciate Georgia’s significant contribution to the NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and recognize the sacrifices the Georgian people have made for our shared security. Georgia’s contributions to operations in Afghanistan have been continuous and uninterrupted. Allies also welcome Georgia’s contributions to the NATO Response Force. These efforts, along with Georgia’s participation in EU-led operations, demonstrate Georgia’s commitment and capability to contribute to Euro-Atlantic security.
- Allies reiterate their full support to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. They welcome Georgia’s commitment not to use force and call on Russia to reciprocate. They call on Russia to reverse its recognition of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia as independent states and to withdraw its forces from Georgia. Allies do not recognize the so-called treaties signed between the Abkhazia region of Georgia and Russia in November 2014, and the South Ossetia region of Georgia and Russia in March 2015. These violate Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and blatantly contradict the principles of international law, OSCE principles and Russia’s international commitments. Allies commend Georgia’s full compliance with the EU-mediated ceasefire agreement of August 2008 and its efforts to build confidence. Allies welcome the resumption of meetings within the Gali Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM). Allies encourage all participants in the Geneva International Discussions to play a constructive role, as well as to continue working closely with the OSCE, the UN, and the EU to pursue peaceful conflict resolution in the internationally recognized territory of Georgia.
- NGC Ministers look forward to the visit of the North Atlantic Council in permanent session to Georgia this autumn, which will demonstrate NATO’s political and practical support to Georgia and provide an opportunity to take stock of Georgia’s progress.