Georgian Defense Forces Chief Visits NATO HQ

Chief of the Georgian Defense Forces, Major General Giorgi Matiashvili on January 12-13 attended the NATO Military Committee meeting in Brussels, alongside 30 Allied Chiefs of Defense and his Ukrainian counterpart.

At the NATO-Georgia Commission meeting, the Committee’s special session with Georgia, the parties discussed on January 13 the security environment in the country and in the broader region, as well as Georgia’s ongoing progress with defense-related reforms.

The sides paid particular attention to Russia’s increasing military provocations and growing militarization in the Caucasus and the Black Sea region, the Georgian Defense Ministry said in a press release. 

According to Major General Matiashvili, the defense officials also discussed initiatives implemented within the frames of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP), the upcoming NATO-Georgia joint exercise in 2022 and long-term efforts that could deepen the partnership between the Alliance and Georgia.

After the sessions concluded, Chair of the NATO Military Committee Admiral Rob Bauer in a press conference praised Georgia for carrying out “impressive reforms while enhancing its defense capabilities through the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package.”

He highlighted that the package was enhanced to “improve the interaction between Georgia and the different parts of its command structure, strengthen its maritime component, and focus more on resilience.”

Speaking about Georgia and Ukraine, the Committee Chair stressed that both countries are receiving “unprecedented” support and assistance from NATO and expressed unwavering support for their territorial integrity and sovereignty.

“We want to ensure they have all the necessary tools to not only ensure their own security but also further contribute to European security,” Admiral Bauer asserted.  

Georgian Defense Chief’s bilateral meetings

Ahead of the NATO-Georgia Commission session, on January 13, Major General Giorgi Matiashvili met with his Ukrainian counterpart Lieutenant-General Valery Zaluzhny and the Chief of the General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces, General Daniel Zmeko. 

With Lieutenant-General Zaluzhny, the parties discussed the Black Sea regional security and Russia’s growing influence, according to Georgian Defense Ministry’s press release. They further exchanged information on the ongoing defense reforms and about the cooperation of their respective countries with NATO and the European Union.

The Defense Ministry stated that Major General Matiashvili condemned Russia’s military occupation of Crimea and parts of Eastern Ukraine and stressed the importance of resolving the situation peacefully, in accordance with the principles of international law and norms. 

At the meeting with his Slovak colleague General Zmeko, Georgian Defense Forces Chief, discussed strengthening cooperation with NATO member states in light of the regional challenges and threats from Russia.

The Military Committee sessions were held against the backdrop of strained relations between the Western countries and Russia over the latter’s increasing military build-up in and around Ukraine, as well as demands that NATO prevents the accession of Georgia and Ukraine into the Alliance.

The sides have held several high-profile discussions this week, which included a bilateral dialogue between the U.S. and Russia in Geneva on January 10, the NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels on January 12, and a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on January 13.

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