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Georgian PM Gakharia, NATO's Stoltenberg Discuss Cooperation In Brussels

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg give a joint press conference in Brussels on September 29.

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg have discussed ties, Georgia’s progress on its NATO integration path, and future cooperation plans.

During the talks, on September 29, the first day of Gakharia's two-day visit to Brussels, Stoltenberg stressed that “NATO supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders."

"We call on Russia to end its recognition of [Georgia's breakaway] regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and to withdraw its forces,” Stoltenberg said.

“And I encourage you to continue making full use of all the opportunities for coming closer to NATO. And to prepare for membership. We count on Georgia to ensure next month’s elections meet the highest international standards. This is important for Georgia, and for NATO,” Stoltenberg added.

Stoltenberg also underscored the importance of Georgia’s continued reforms in the judiciary system and commended Georgia’s progress in implementing reforms aimed at “strengthening democratic oversight on intelligence, security services, and armed forces.” He said that Georgia made good progress in modernizing its armed forces and in strengthening democracy.

Gakharia said his country is committed to further reforms in “multiple directions.”

"The most important part for us was to figure out the function of Georgia -- the new role of Georgia on Black Sea security. We see Black Sea security as the window of opportunity for Georgia, for deepening the cooperation with NATO," Gakharia said.

Gakharia was accompanied by Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani and Head of Government Administration Natia Mezvrishvili.

Based by reporting by and