Noble Partner 2020 Military Exercises In Georgia Come To A Close
The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the cooperation of Georgia and the United States
Thanks to close cooperation with partner countries, Georgia has become stronger and more secure. This was stated by the President Salome Zurabishvili at the closing ceremony of the multinational exercise Noble Partner 2020. According to the president, the fact that multinational maneuvers took place for the fifth time in Georgia despite the pandemic is “a shining example of ever-growing cooperation.”.
“Our goal is to create a modern, combat-ready and NATO-compatible defense force, which, in addition to performing national defense tasks, will contribute to strengthening stability and security in the Black Sea region,” Zurabishvili said and noted that cooperation with partners and joint exercises bring Georgia closer to main goal – NATO membership.
The President of Georgia separately thanked the United States of America for the “special trust and support” rendered to Georgia.
“Deepening the strategic partnership with the United States is one of the most important priorities of Georgia … Over the years, special efforts have been made to deepen cooperation between the two countries in the field of defense and security, and today we are at a qualitatively new level,” the president said..
In turn, the US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan stated that a successful exercise means a message to “friends and foes” that “together we are stronger”.
“These exercises are not only aimed at increasing the compatibility of our forces, they also clearly demonstrate the ability to organize exercises despite the pandemic, and send a clear deterrent signal to all aggressors,” Degnan said..
Let us remind you that the annual Noble Partner exercise is being held in Georgia for the fifth time. They are organized by the Georgian Ministry of Defense and the European Command of the American Army. The maneuvers, which began on September 7, were attended by more than 2.7 thousand troops from Georgia and four NATO member countries: the United States, Great Britain, France and Poland..
Meanwhile, Georgia’s cooperation with the United States was once again criticized by Russia. In an interview with Russian media on September 17, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov accused the United States of provoking the Russian-Georgian war in 2008.
“Everyone remembers how the events of 2008 took place, how the American instructors were there and trained the Georgian army. The Americans were well aware of the incontinence of Mikhail Saakashvili (President of Georgia in 2004-2013), who trampled all agreements and issued a criminal order, “Lavrov said..
At the same time, the Russian Foreign Minister expressed confidence that relations with Georgia will “recover” and “improve”.
“We see the emergence of Georgian politicians who are in favor of this. So far, these are still small parties in the ruling elites. I am convinced that our traditional historical closeness, the mutual attraction of our peoples, will ultimately triumph. Provocateurs who are trying to prevent Georgia from returning to normal relations with Russia will be put to shame, “Lavrov said..
It is noteworthy that according to the latest study published on September 17 by the International Republican Institute (IRI) (an American non-governmental organization that supports the development of political parties, civil society, free and fair elections), support for the pro-Russian Alliance of Patriots party among Georgian voters was 3%.
In the October 2016 elections, the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia won just over 5% of the vote and entered parliament for the first time. Alliance then received 6 parliamentary mandates out of 150.
Head of the Center for the Study of Security and International Relations Nika Chitadze called the comments of the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry on Georgia’s cooperation with the United States “cynical, but familiar”.
According to the expert, Lavrov once again voiced “typical messages of Russian propaganda that set the teeth on edge,” in particular, that it was allegedly through the fault of the United States that relations between Georgia and Russia deteriorated, and that if Tbilisi abandons the western path of development, Georgia will be able to restore its territorial integrity.
“The unofficial Russian occupation of the Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia began in the early 1990s, when there was no question of cooperation between Georgia and the United States. Shifting responsibility for the occupation of Georgia onto the United States is the height of cynicism, but Russian officials do not shy away from this, ”the expert says..
Chitadze noted in a commentary for the Russian service of the Voice of America that the pro-Russian Alliance of Patriots party is promoting similar messages, demanding to abandon the Atlantic vector and declare Georgia a military-neutral state.
Expert George Shavshishviland believes that it is military cooperation with the United States and NATO that is a guarantee of Georgia’s security.
“The main threat to Georgia’s security comes from Russia, so one can hardly expect positive assessments from the Russian leadership regarding the deepening of Georgia’s relations with its Western partners. The most important thing for our country is to continue intensive rapprochement with NATO. “A worthy partner” and other joint exercises play a decisive role in advancing Georgia on the path of Euro-Atlantic integration, “the expert concluded..