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Rasmussen Calls Georgia 'Model Partner'

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (right) has told Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (left) that NATO is still firmly behind the Caucasus country joining the alliance one day (file photo).
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has praised Georgia as "a model partner" of the North Atlantic Alliance.

Meeting on April 3 with President Mikheil Saakashvili in Brussels, Rasmussen said NATO's 2008 decision pledging that Georgia should one day join the alliance "stands firm."

Rasmussen highlighted Georgia’s involvement in NATO operations in Afghanistan, noting that, by the end of this year, Georgia is expected to be providing the largest contingent of troops in Afghanistan by a non-NATO country.

In his remarks, Saakashvili offered assurances to Rasmussen that Georgia's parliamentary elections scheduled for October would be fully "transparent," and urged the international community to deploy observers to Georgia to monitor the polls for fairness.

NATO has called on Georgia to implement democratic reforms as part of its bid to join the alliance.

Based on reporting by dpa, Interfax