The President of Georgia and the NATO Secretary General held a joint press conference
NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Thank you, good afternoon Mr. President. It’s really a pleasure to meet with you once again, here at the NATO Summit in Chicago. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you and your country on all of the progress you have made, and the fact that Georgia has been the only partner country to participate in all three partner events in this summit, is testimony to the very special relationship between Georgia and NATO. We wanted to acknowledge that Georgia is one of the major contributors to our operation in Afghanistan. Your troops do an outstanding job. We appreciate your contribution and it’s a strong testament to your commitment to the Transatlantic Alliance and to international peace and security. We also wanted to acknowledge the significant progress you have made in the domestic reform process which takes place. First and foremost, it is because it in the interest of Georgia herself, but of course also within the NATO-Georgia commission, which creates an excellent framework for the Georgia-NATO partnership. At the meeting here in Chicago we have reiterated from a light side our positions when it comes to Georgia .We have reiterated that we want to see full respect for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within her internationally recognized borders. And last but not least, we have reiterated what NATO decided already in 2008, at our summit in Bucharest, that Georgia will become a member of NATO. We are pleased to see the progress you have already achieved and we are pleased to continue assisting you in that important reform process.
President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili
Mr. General Secretary, first of all let me congratulate you on this incredibly successful summit. I have been to several NATO Summits in my rather long political career, and I can tell you that from my point of view that every summit was special, but this one was the most current, the most consistent, the most successful and the most open-minded summit from our own perspective, which I have ever attended. I’ve never been, at least in recent times, in such a unity around issues. That's extremely important from our standpoint, because what we see is that NATO is a powerful motivator not only in terms of security but in terms as you mentioned; reforms, changes and our development. Our nation is committed to NATO and it believes that it should be, according all of the polls, but it is not just the poll data and it’s not what I believe in but what they believe in. We should be a contributor too; contributors of security, not just consumers. And what I noticed and you rightly said, we were the only nation, rightly so, the only nation that was present in all formats here, besides being the only non-allied nation, that’s a very special privilege, we were representing our region at the core parties meeting, which we also saw as a special privilege and acknowledgment of Georgia’s role.
We also heard that the next summit will be a summit of enlargement or at least that’s what some of the people have been saying here. Many of the participants and we also clearly noticed, that today one of the most important parts of the talk was about the open door policy of NATO, and about talk regarding Georgia and the other three countries of the Balkans as future members. This is really a geographic cue for us as well, because what has happened is that Georgia has been moved or somehow found itself in an informal club or gathering and coordinating group, because we also coordinate with each other, the free Balkan countries, which certainly are strong candidates for NATO membership. And I think this is due to your consistent effort to integrate Georgia, whatever the constraints are, to help us solve the issues and also finally, lastly, NATO has a clear policy on Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. The fact that this powerful alliance has a policy on these issues is a very strong incentive for us in terms of long term development of our economy, our reforms, improving the level of life of people, our democracy, bracing for elections that will take part in Georgia, and going through all the processes that will finally anchor us with NATO and Euro-Atlantic structures.
Once again I have to underline that after you came to Georgia last year, you invited me to the North Atlantic Council, after your contribution first as Danish Prime Minister and the Secretary General of NATO, many things have started to move and that makes me leave Chicago with an amazing upbeat mood. Thank you again for this great opportunity to be here!