U.S. Secretary of Defense General James Mattis praised Georgia’s outstanding contribution to international security at a Pentagon meeting with the Minister of Defense of Georgia Levan Izoria on November 13th. The parties discussed the ongoing U.S.-Georgia defense partnership, including enhancement of combat readiness and institutional capacity via the Georgia Defense Readiness Program that will start in 2018. According to the Minister of Defense Levan Izoria, Georgia appreciates the U.S. support in the GDRP which will contribute to resilience of the country and strengthen military capabilities of Georgia.
General Mattis commended Minister Izoria for Georgia’s ongoing commitment to defense reforms and to strengthening its armed forces capabilities through robust defense spending at 2.2 percent of its gross domestic product. “As we look to the future, the U.S. strongly supports Georgia’s devotion to strengthening and modernizing its military capabilities with 2.2% of your GDP dedicated to defense spending. This shows your commitment to your military defense. Your military reforms are well-tuned to significantly improve the Georgian military’s increasing effectiveness, and we endorse them,” said General Mattis
The General also expressed his appreciation for Georgia’s steadfast devotion and commitment to serving alongside US forces as the largest non-NATOforce contributor and per capita contributor to the mission in Afghanistan. “We recognize your nation as the largest per capita and non-NATO force contributor to the mission. With 871 troops continuously deployed, Georgia is an example for all. We honor the 32 Georgian soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of this cause, and your wounded, many of whom have suffered grievous injuries in our fight against terrorism,” noted Gen. Mattis.
The Secretary of Defense also reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to continuing defense cooperation with Georgia through annual bilateral and multilateral exercises and training: “This year marks the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Georgia & the U.S., and 2018 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Bucharest Pledge that Georgia will one day become a NATO member. Our countries have stood by one another in friendship and solidarity since Georgia chose to join the community of democratic nations a quarter century ago.”
He also noted, “This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Russian-Georgian war. As Vice President Pence said during his visit to Tbilisi this summer, ‘America stands with Georgia.’ This commitment is underpinned by our nations’ shared values of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and respect for the rules-based international order.”
Defense Minister of Georgia Levan Izoria met with the National Security Adviser to the U.S. President, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster at the White House on November 16th. They discussed the US-Georgian defense and security partnership acceleration, regional security issues, and Georgia’s contribution to international security.