Speeches & Statements

The President of Georgia and the NATO Secretary General held a joint press conference

The President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili:

Greetings everyone!

First of all I would like to welcome the NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

The Secretary General visited Georgia several times, and for the first time he visited us in his capacity as the Prime Minister of Denmark in 2008.

We remember very well the solidarity he expressed towards the Georgian people; his very clear, brave, and humane statements.

As the NATO Secretary General he expressed strong support of the Georgian democracy several times.

He expressed support of Georgia’s NATO integration several times.

It must be said that Georgia has reached a certain progress during his tenure as the NATO Secretary General.

They have moved us to the category of aspirant countries. Statements were increasingly affirmative in terms of Georgia’s integration in NATO first at the Lisbon Summit, and then during the Chicago Summit.

Rhetoric plays an important role in this case.

They often say: Georgia’s integration in NATO is much postponed. They administer the following propaganda: “NATO is like a horizon – the closer we get to it the further it seems”

I would like to tell the skeptics: every visit of the Secretary General to Georgia, every visit of NAC (it arrived here in 2008 in the aftermath of the war), every ministerial held in Brussels means more and more integration with the most influential political and military organization in history. This means more approximation maybe not legally, but politically, and this is more political security guarantee for Georgia.

This is the expression of more faith towards Georgia’s long term future. Of course we love guests very much, and we are always glad when guests like the Secretary General arrive in Georgia, but we all know very well that they do not represent a tourist organization which is just glad to travel here.

This is something very important. In the democratic world words, statements and support have a specific value, specific cost and all of this has a continuation.

Those, who do not understand this, come from a time when words did not mean anything; from a period when the old authoritarian system made us live a lie.

When we are talking about a democratic world and this organization’s each statement, each step, each declaration has a decisive meaning for Georgia and for this region as a whole.

We are of course proud of our soldiers, who are participating in the ISAF Mission in Afghanistan.

I think they represent the best children of Georgia, the best face of our country and the best expression of our fighting and freedom loving spirit.

We bow before the memory of these persons, soldiers, best children of Georgia and representatives of our multi-ethnic society who have sacrificed their lives for Georgia’s future.

We have always been proud of the fact that historically we represented a part of large progressive coalitions.

Georgia’s survival and future lies in this, and we of course did the right thing when we got involved in the Afghanistan operations and increased our presence later.

This also serves the creation of strong armed forces of Georgia, which also has a decisive and historic importance for Georgia.

We discussed Georgia’s internal political issues – you know that many suspicious and controversial steps have been made including this morning.

We also discussed generally issues related to the rule of law, human rights, and Georgian democracy. We spoke about all these issues openly and honestly.

I think it is a very tough moment for Georgia in this sense, but in the end our country will definitely overcome all these obstacles.

Of course we will become a member of NATO; of course we will for a consolidated democracy, but we are going through a very tough period now and facing very serious problematic issues.

This is what I wanted to mention in general.

I would like to once again greet the Secretary General.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen:

Mr. President,

Thank you very much for your kind words.

It is always a pleasure to visit Georgia. Georgia is, in so many ways, a model partner for NATO. You play a strong role in our operations, you are carrying through important reforms, and you are committed to democracy and to membership of the Alliance.

In Afghanistan, you make an outstanding contribution. Your soldiers are playing a vital part in international efforts to stop terrorism spreading to other parts of the world, including this region. Their deployment abroad is helping to make Georgia safer at home.


Your soldiers have shown their courage and their commitment. And some have made the ultimate sacrifice.

I was deeply saddened by the tragic losses in recent weeks. I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of the fallen, and to the Georgian people. We honour their memory, and we stand firm in our resolve. 

Here at home, Georgians have shown great commitment to democracy. Last year’s elections were a landmark. They were free and fair, and they led to the first peaceful transition of power in Georgia’s history.

Mr President, I congratulate you for overseeing that historic moment.


We know from history that democracy is a continuous test, not a one-off event. I trust all political players in Georgia can prove that they can work together for the benefit of all people. Within the rule of law and the constitution. And to make sure that this year’s presidential election meets the same high standards.

We will continue to follow events in Georgia closely. And Georgia can count on NATO’s support.

Our principles and our decisions are clear. They have not changed.


We support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders. Georgia will become a member of this Alliance, provided you meet the necessary requirements. You will take your rightful place in the Euro-Atlantic family.


NATO’s door remains open, and Georgia knows what is necessary to walk through it.

So I look to all in Georgia to continue what has been begun. Take on the reforms. Further strengthen your democracy. This will benefit the whole Georgian people. And benefit Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. 

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