NATO on Thursday opened a training centre in Georgia as the ex-Soviet country eyes closer partnership with the Western military alliance amid tensions with Russia.
Georgia has long sought full NATO membership and hopes to be invited to join a Membership Action Plan (MAP), a formal step towards membership, at a NATO summit in Warsaw next year.
But analysts doubt that NATO will grant the small South Caucasus country the membership plan in 2016 for fear of infuriating Russia amid tensions over Ukraine.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg sounded non-committal Thursday.
The establishment of the NATO-Georgian Joint Training and Evaluation Center, to be based just outside the capital Tbilisi, is aimed at buttressing the ex-Soviet country which fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008.
“There is more Georgia in NATO and more NATO in Georgia,” Stoltenberg said at a news conference alongside Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili before the opening ceremony.
Stoltenberg, who arrived in Tbilisi on Wednesday, said that both Georgian and NATO troops would be trained at the centre.
“This centre will help Georgia to continue making its armed forces more modern and more capable of meeting 21st century challenges,” Stoltenberg said at the opening ceremony in the Krtsanisi National Training Center outside Tbilisi.
“It will be equally important in training allied and partner troops,” he said in the presence of Georgia’s prime minister, president and top officials.
Full article: NATO opens training centre in Georgia amid Russia tensions (Spacewar)