18 May 2022,   23:38
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No one else has the right to veto the membership of NATO aspirant states, in this case Georgia and 30 Allies to decide - Jens Stoltenberg

European security issues were discussed in Brussels. NATO Secretary General once again mentioned Georgia and Open Door policy.

“The NATO Allies raised a wide range of issues related to European security in the meeting yesterday in the NATO-Russia Council. Including the message about that we, of course, support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of also Georgia. Of course, the main focus was Ukraine, because of the very intense and difficult situation. But also Georgia was part of the discussion, where Allies reiterated their strong support and also stated clearly that the issue of membership of NATO is for the aspirant countries – Georgia in this case-, and that 30 Allies to decide. No one else has the right to try to veto or interfere in that process. And this is about fundamental principles for European security. It"s about the right for every nation to choose their own path.

And I also register and take note of the fact that, for instance, Finland and Sweden who are actually not currently seeking a NATO membership, they have stated very clearly that even for them this is unacceptable that Russia calls all NATO to sign a legally binding agreement saying that there will be no further enlargement, neither Georgia or Ukraine or in the future rule out any possible membership, for instance, for Finland and Sweden because this is about violating the whole idea that each and every night nation can decide their own future by themselves.

So then in that context, the Georgia was absolutely part of the discussion because these principles also applies fully for Georgia.

Then on the way forward. Well, we had a very extensive discussion. It was an open and frank discussion but … NATO Allies put forward a proposal to agree a series of meetings addressing arms control, risk reduction, transparency, all the issues of importance for European security. And then to meet in the NATO-Russia Council and a series of meetings to sit down with Russia.

It is good in itself that we"re able to sit down around the same table and address these issues. We are far apart from each other on many of these issues, but at least we need to engage in a meaningful dialogue. And we have outlined the way forward, the process, then the issues to be discussed and how to meet and to engage in a dialogue.

Russia was not in a position in the meeting to respond to NATO"s proposed way forward, but I hope that they will come back and agree.

We have also made it clear that we are ready to put concrete proposals on the table and then to discuss those with Russia.

So we are ready to engage in dialogue, but not to compromise on core principles of “open door” and of course NATO"s right to protect and defend all Allies”, - said Jens Stoltenberg.

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