Rasmussen: Georgia will join NATO Response Force in 2015

By Nazrin Gadimova

Georgia will be the first partner country of NATO, which will become a member of the NATO Response Force in 2015, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told journalists in Brussels on October 10.

"Georgia has offered to join Response Force in the future, and this offer is accepted," he said.

Earlier, Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said Georgia will become a member of the NATO Response Force in 2015.

"We appealed to NATO with this issue and have received preliminary approval. So, I think that in 2015 we will become a part of the NATO Response Force," he said. "We meet all the requirements of the alliance and our troops will be represented in the NATO Response Force with dignity."

Georgia has participated in international missions of the NATO in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Georgia also expressed its willingness to participate in the operations in Mali.

Georgia is currently a candidate for NATO membership and the U.S. is actively supporting its membership bid. Accession to NATO is one of the top foreign policy priorities of Georgia. Soon after the declaration of independence, Georgia joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council.

Georgia's bilateral relations with NATO were established in 1994 when the country joined the Partnership for Peace program (PfP). At the informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in 2006 it was decided to launch Intensified Dialogue on Membership Issues with the South Caucasus republic.