NATO calls on Georgia to implement democratic reform
NATO called Friday on Georgia to implement democratic reforms, whilst also praising the country's contribution to NATO operations in Afghanistan, at talks in Berlin, DPA reported.
Georgian Foreign Minister Gregory Vashadze joined the meeting of all 28 NATO foreign ministers for a special session on his country's partnership with the western alliance.
Georgia has been promised NATO membership as soon as it meets the bloc's criteria. Vashadze told his NATO counterparts that the country remained committed to the necessary reforms.
"Work remains to be done for the Georgian government to adopt and implement necessary reforms, and to cooperate with the opposition on implementing democratic reforms," read the wording of a statement agreed by NATO and Georgia.
Ahead of the talks, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen thanked Georgia for its "substantial contribution to the common engagement in Afghanistan," where the country is the second largest non-NATO troop supplier.
NATO ministers urged Georgia to implement electoral reform before the country's 2012 elections, and continue to strengthen the rule of law, the role of civil society as well as judicial and media reforms.
Vashadze expressed "concern over the Russian military build-up in the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia," adding that Tbilisi was committed to a peaceful resolution.
NATO called upon Russia to respect the commitments made to Georgia at the end of the countries' conflict in 2008.
NATO ministers also met Ukrainian Foreign Minister Konstantyn Hryshchenko, to discuss their partnership.
Rasmussen said Ukraine's recently approved national annual programme was a "tangible expression" of a pledge by President Viktor Yanukovych to further "active political dialogue and practical cooperation" with NATO.
Ukraine's Moscow-friendly government is not seeking NATO membership, but is keen to retain ties with the alliance.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also arrived in Berlin for a meeting of NATO's Russia Council, on the second day of NATO's foreign ministers' meeting, originally scheduled as a follow-up to the bloc's Lisbon summit last November.
On Thursday, NATO members agreed to a joint statement listing the conditions under which they would end their military operations in Libya, and discussed progress in Afghanistan's security handover.