TBILISI, DFWatch – NATO once again underlines that the decision that Georgia will become member of Alliance stands firm.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, said this today during a press conference with Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.

He said Georgia is a special partner to NATO and noted the country’s contribution to peacekeeping operations.

“You already contribute the second-largest non-NATO force to our mission in Afghanistan. And by the end of this year, you will be the largest non-NATO ISAF partner. Your troops are doing an outstanding job, shoulder-to-shoulder with NATO troops, under challenging circumstances. Some have given their lives in our shared cause and I pay tribute to their sacrifice, and I offer my deepest condolences to their families and loved ones,” the Secretary General said in his opening remarks.

NATO doesn’t recognize the recently held presidential and parliamentary elections in Georgia’s breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which are occupied by Russia.

“The Alliance recognizes Georgia’s territorial integrity and its sovereignty within internationally recognized borders,” Rasmussen said.