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Participation in Afghan peacekeeping mission isn't opportunity for joining NATO, Rasmussen says (UPDATE)

26 June 2013 13:55 (UTC+04:00)
Participation in Afghan peacekeeping mission isn't opportunity for joining NATO, Rasmussen says (UPDATE)

By Nazrin Gadimova

NATO appreciates Georgia's contribution to the Afghan peacekeeping mission, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on June 26.

"I want to mention that we appreciate Georgia's participation in the Afghan peacekeeping operation," he said. "We share the pain of the families of deceased servicemen. Moreover, we must note that the participation in the Afghan peacekeeping mission is not an opportunity for joining NATO. It is necessary to meet "certain criteria" to join the alliance."

According to Rasmussen, the fundamental reforms, as well as in the defense sector, are required.

"Georgia continues this process and we appreciate its success, but it is too early to speak about specific dates of NATO expansion," Rasmussen added.

The visit of the NATO delegation, which arrived in Georgia on June 26, will run until June 27.

A meeting of the NATO-Georgia commission and other events are scheduled for June 27.

Also a meeting with Chairman of the Georgian Parliament David Usupashvili, leader of the parliamentary majority and the minority, as well as the chairmen of the committees of Parliament with the delegation of the North Atlantic Council will be held on June 27.

On the same day, Anders Fogh Rasmussen will deliver speech at a meeting with students at the National Library of the Georgian Parliament. The delegation will meet with representatives of the civil society, NGOs, media and international organizations.

NATO delegation will attend the official farewell ceremony of Georgian soldiers, who will participate at the peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan.

Georgia is a candidate for NATO membership, actively contributes to NATO-led operations and cooperates with the Allies and other partner countries in many other areas. The NATO-Georgia Commission provides a unique framework through which NATO and Georgia pursue active political dialogue and practical cooperation in support of Georgia's reform efforts and its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

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