On 7-8 October 2021, the NATO Military Committee travelled to Georgia where they held a special meeting in Georgia Format and visited the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre. Additionally, its Chair, Admiral Rob Bauer met with the Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Minister of Defence Juansher Burchuladze and Chief of Defence, Major General Giorgi Matiashvili.
Upon their arrival in Tbilissi, the NATO Military Representatives were escorted to the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre, which is dedicated to helping Georgia reform, modernise and strengthen its security and defence sectors. There, the Military Committee had a chance to see first-hand how the JTEC enables Georgia and NATO to work side by side and explore multi-national training and exercise opportunities designed to increase interoperability. The Committee received detailed briefings on ongoing combat training, exercises and activities between Georgian forces, and Allied and Partner forces.
Sitting down with the Georgian Prime Minister, Mr Irakli Garibashvili, Admiral Bauer reiterated the importance of this partnership for NATO. “This fourth visit of the Military Committee is an opportunity to reiterate NATO’s unwavering commitment to Georgia. NATO and Georgia share a unique partnership, which has only become stronger over time. We have been building this relationship for almost 30 years, based on mutual respect, constructive dialogue & practical cooperation. Our partnership has always been mutually beneficial. It makes both Georgia and the Alliance stronger”, asserted the Admiral.
Meeting with the Defence Minister, Mr Burchuladze and the Chief of Defence, Major General Giorgi Matiashvili, Admiral Bauer extended his heartfelt thanks to Georgia for its continued support to NATO and for the sacrifices made in the name of shared security. “For almost three decades, the Alliance has never appealed to Georgia in vain. Georgia was the largest non-NATO troop contributor to our missions in Afghanistan. Georgia has also supported NATO’s KFOR mission in Kosovo for almost a decade; making an important contribution to the stability of the region. And since 2015, Georgia has been contributing to the NATO Response Force enabling NATO to remain able and ready”, emphasised Admiral Bauer.
The Military Committee then held a special meeting in Georgia Format with a high level Georgian delegation including Defence Minister Burchuladze, First Deputy Defence Minister Lela Chikovani and Chief of Defence, Major General Giorgi Matiashvili. The NATO Military Representatives received updates on the implementation of the Georgian defence reforms, the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package and the current regional security environment. The NATO Military Representatives and Georgian representatives discussed how they can best create optimisation of Georgian defence. “In Tbilisi, the statue Kartlis Deda (Mother Georgia) holds a bowl of wine to greet those who come as friends, and a sword for those who come as enemies. NATO is proud to be greeted as a friend. And we will do everything we can to strengthen the sword Georgia carries. Our partnership strengthens us all”, affirmed the Chair of the NATO Military Committee.
Admiral Bauer concluded the visit by meeting the Georgian President, H.E. Salome Zourabichvili.