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Rasmussen Expresses Support To Tbilisi's 'Euro-Atlantic Aspirations'

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Georgia is a "special partner," which made "remarkable progress," on the road to "mature democracy."

In opening remarks at the NATO-Georgia Commission on the level of foreign ministers in Brussels on April 2, Rasmussen said Georgia "has proven itself to be a security exporter," noting Tbilisi’s contribution to the mission in Afghanistan, its commitment to continue its participation in the post-2014 mission in Afghanistan, and its intention to join NATO Response Forces from 2015.

"Georgia can become a model for the region -- a country that provides security and stability; that pursues real reform, and that reaps real dividends; and that is on good track to realize its sovereign choice of European and Euro-Atlantic integration," Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen also expressed support for the territorial integrity of Georgia, whose two breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been recognized by Russia as independent.

"We remain firm in our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders and we continue to support Georgia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations," Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen also praised last year’s presidential election, adding that local elections scheduled for June will be "another significant milestone" on Georgia's path of democratic changes. He added that "further progress will require continued constructive cooperation between the government and opposition."

Rasmussen added that "crisis at our borders following Russia's military aggression against Ukraine" will also be discussed at the NATO-Georgia Commission meeting.

The commission's meeting is being held on the second day of NATO foreign ministers gathering in Brussels.

The ministers have agreed on April 1 to further support Ukraine and to suspend NATO's practical cooperation with Russia.

The gathering on April 2 is also focusing on the situation in Afghanistan where security is now mainly in the hands of the Afghan National Security Forces ahead of the withdrawal of international combat troops at the end of December this year.
Based on reporting by and Reuters