Georgia and NATO: Noble Partner or Future Member?

Almost a decade after the Russian invasion of Georgia in August 2008 thousands of Russian troops still occupy the two territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia which together make up 20 percent of Georgia’s internationally recognized territory.

The unresolved territorial conflicts and the immediate proximity to Russia make full membership of Georgia in NATO more difficult, but have not prevented the country from further integrating into the defensive alliance. Since the war, Georgia has fundamentally changed its military and conforms to the NATO standard on defense spending. Georgia has sent thousands of soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan and hundreds of peacekeepers to the Balkans and Africa, making a major contribution to transatlantic security. Today, Georgia has 870 troops in Afghanistan, making it the largest non-NATO troop contributor to the Resolute Support Mission. Since regaining independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia has been a beacon of hope in an otherwise turbulent region. In open and free elections, successive peaceful transfers of power took place and economic reforms were carried out to liberalize the economy. Despite intensive efforts, Georgia’s membership, which was announced at the Bucharest NATO summit in 2008, still seems far away. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has repeatedly stressed that the door to membership will always be open to the country. US Vice President Mike Pence said more clearly during his visit to Georgia last year, assuring that Georgia will “someday” be a member of NATO. NATO’s recent Brussels Summit Declaration not only reiterated the support of the alliance for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia and appreciates its contributions and reforms yet also clearly reaffirms the decision made in 2008, that Georgia will become a member of NATO. Will there now be any decisive progress towards a full membership of the country or will it remain a close partnership?AGENDA

Opening Remarks

Dr. Elguja Khokrishvili,

Ambassador of Georgia to the Federal Republic of GermanyPanel Discussion

Nata Koridze,

Deputy Director NATO Integration Department, საქართველოს საგარეო საქმეთა სამინისტრო / MFA of GeorgiaProf. Dr. Carlo Masala,

Chair of International Relations, Universität der Bundeswehr MünchenBenjamin Fricke,

Desk Officer, Konrad-Adenauer-StiftungTamuna Jibuti,

YATA Georgia, Winner of #NATOengages Competition 2018chaired by Adrian Bühring

YATA Germany

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