Stoltenberg: NATO to 'step up' Black Sea presence

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg uses Tbilisi meeting to say alliance will continue to work with Georgia, Ukraine partners

Stoltenberg: NATO to 'step up' Black Sea presence

World Bulletin / News Desk

 NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday the alliance would strengthen its presence in the Black Sea.

Stoltenberg and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili held a joint news conference after a NATO-Georgia Commission meeting in the country's capital, Tbilisi.

The NATO head emphasized they would expand their presence in the Black Sea region in line with a decision taken during the alliance's Warsaw summit in July.

The outcome of the Warsaw summit suggests that, geographically, three regional flashpoints could be possible confrontation lines between NATO and Russia: the Baltics; the Eastern Mediterranean; and the Black Sea.

Stoltenberg told reporters: "We have seen an increased Russian presence in the Black Sea region and we have also seen a substantial military build-up in Crimea by Russia.

“NATO has decided to increase our presence in the Black Sea. We will further step up our presence in the region and also in the Black Sea itself.

“We are working on that with our military planners now to decide exactly how that is going to take place.”

"For NATO and NATO allies, it is important to have close contact with partner countries like Ukraine and Georgia -- being non-NATO members but NATO partners -- and to dialogue with them regarding our increased presence in the Black Sea," the NATO chief added.

Stoltenberg stated that they supported the Tbilisi government in making effective reforms in many fields to fulfill the conditions to become a NATO member. 

Prime Minister Kvirikashvili thanked NATO and its allies for supporting Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Eylül 2016, 08:29