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Georgia reiterates aspiration to joining NATO
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2010-10-02 10:02
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Friday reiterated his aspiration to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

He made the statement during a joint press conference with visiting NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen after the two had met at the presidential palace here.

"We remember your brave statement in September 2008 during your brief visit to Tbilisi," the Georgian president said referring to the NATO chief declaring the South Caucasus country would eventually become a member of the Western alliance.

On Friday, Rasmussen told Saakashvili: "Georgia will become a member of NATO if it meets all necessary criteria. We will help you to meet the criteria. We are cooperating with Georgia within the framework of the Georgia-NATO commission. I am glad that I participated in the opening of the NATO liaison office. It is one more step forward in NATO-Georgia relations." NATO opened a liaison office here Friday.

Saakashvili thanked Fogh Rasmussen for inviting him to participate in the NATO summit in Lisbon in November this year.

NATO also invited Ukraine and Russia to participate in its Lisbon summit.

The Georgian president said his country's ambition to join the alliance was an aspiration for an independent, self-sufficient and free Georgia.

At the NATO Bucharest summit held in April 2008, the heads of state and government of NATO member countries welcomed Georgia's and Ukraine's bids for NATO membership.

"We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO," read part of the resolution of that summit. "Today we make clear that we support these countries' applications for MAP (membership action plan). Therefore, we will now begin a period of intensive engagement with both at a high political level to address the questions still outstanding pertaining to their MAP applications."

The NATO chief also confirmed on Friday the alliance's support to Georgia's territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty.

"We are appealing to Russia to meet the commitments of the six-point agreement of 2008," Rasmussen said at the joint press briefing.

It was Rasmussen's second visit to Tbilisi. He came for a brief stay in September 2008, after the five-day armed conflict between Georgia and Russia.

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