Georgia was named a NATO aspirant country for the first time on Thursday, the country's deputy premier said, RIA Novosti reported.
Georgia, which has been proactively seeking NATO membership since a coup in 2003, was included on the list during a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers that opened on Wednesday in Brussels
"Georgia was for the first time mentioned among NATO aspirant nations... those countries who received a MAP (membership action plan) such as Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina," said Deputy Prime Minister Georgi Baramidze, who is also minister for European integration.
The minister said the new status means that "Georgia has the same membership instruments as these countries."
"NATO welcomes reforms in aspirant countries and supports their continuation," Baramidze said.