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Rasmussen holds press conference in Tbilisi, Georgia

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Published on Nov 10, 2011

Rasmussen holds press conference in Tbilisi, Georgia

09.11.11

Georgia`s accession to NATO largely depends on how reforms are being carried out in Georgia in various areas, said NATO Secretary General Andres Fogh Rasmussen.

Progress is visible in Georgia`s reforms, but much has yet to be done, Rasmussen said at a news conference in Tbilisi on Wednesday. Therefore, it is difficult to say exactly when Georgia will become a member of NATO, he said.

"Once again let me stress that the decision we took at the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008 still stands that means that the clear statement from NATO that Georgia will become a member of NATO. Since then we have established the NATO-Georgia commission and within that commission we have worked together to promote reforms in Georgia and NATO has assisted Georgia in moving those reforms forward. So, when I say Georgia has moved closer to NATO, I`m referring to the fact that our annual assessments really demonstrate that Georgia has carried through a number of reforms that are required for future membership of NATO. Progress has been made but of course there`s still some work to do and this is also why I am not able to present to you any timetable as when Georgia can expect to become a member of NATO. It very much depends on further progress", Rasmussen said.

"Let me stress that no non-NATO member is in a position to veto any enlargement of NATO. It is NATO that decides on future enlargement. And I`d like to stress that our open door policy depends on teh fundamental principle that each and every sovereign nation has right to decide its alliance affiliation herself. I want tonight to stress that our open door policy is not directed against anyone and it definitely not directed against Russia. On the contrary, we want to engage positively with Russia and at our summit in November year ago, we agreed that we will develop a strategic partnership between NATO and Russia but at the same time our door remains open", he said.

Rasmussen said he highly values Georgia`s role in NATO`s operation in Afghanistan.

Georgian soldiers are doing a great job jointly with NATO in Afghanistan, doing all they can to ensure that Afghanistan does not become a paradise for terrorists. NATO confirms that this may be a factor taken into account in Georgia`s accession to NATO, he said.

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