Successful US-Georgian cooperation in defense and security sphere and ways to further enhance bilateral ties with the strategic partner was discussed during the meeting of the Georgian delegation with the U.S Secretary of Defence Mark Esper held on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.
The meeting led by the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia, was attended by Minister of Defense of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili, his deputy Lela Chikovani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Davit Zalkaliani and Prime Minister's Advisor for International Affairs Irakli Chikovani.
Special focus was made on U.S.-Georgia successful bilateral cooperation in defense sphere and considerable support of the United States in implementation of defense and security reforms.
Significance of enhancing Georgia’s defense capabilities was underlined at the meeting, especially taking into account the current challenges in the region.
It was noted that Security Cooperation Framework is a result of strategic partnership and successful joint efforts in security sphere, along with Georgia Defense Readiness Program (GDRP), Combat Training Centre and institutional reforms implemented for advancing the defense capability of the country.
The Georgian side expressed gratitude to the U.S. Secretary of Defense for significant financial support of Georgia in the field of defense, thereby noting that Government remains loyal to the endeavor to allocate 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to defense in line with NATO standards, while about 20% to the modernization of infrastructure and capacity building.
Parties discussed the development plan of the defense forces of Georgia in 2020-2030, which entails concrete steps for a long-term development of defense capabilities of the country. It was noted that reforms will be continued in the defense sphere, which is implemented in line with a Total Defense approach and National Defense Strategy.
Significant US support in the area of security was also highlighted at the meeting. In this context, focus was made on the Black Sea Security and cooperation with NATO. Significance of cooperation with US was also noted in the process of overcoming hybrid threats.
The U.S. Defense Secretary particularly noted the significant contribution of Georgia in international peacekeeping missions, which are performing under the aegis of NATO and EU.