15:28 GMT +322 November 2019
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    Georgian soldiers stand in formation during the inauguration ceremony of the NATO-Georgian Joint Training and Evaluation Center at the Krtsanisi military training base, outside Tbilisi, on August 27, 2015.

    NATO Opens Training Center to 'Pay Off' Georgia – German Media

    © AFP 2019 / VANO SHLAMOV
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    According to the German TV channel Das Erste, the opening of a joint NATO training center near Tbilisi should be viewed as an attempt to find a compromise with Georgia, which has repeatedly been denied membership in the alliance.

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg participated in the opening ceremony of a joint NATO training center as part of his recent visit to Georgia, German TV channel Das Erste reported.

    The training center is designed to serve as an alternative to Georgia’s membership in NATO and as a way to support the Republic’s pro-Western government, without provoking Russia, the channel said.

    Beginning in 2016, the center will train Georgian army units as well as soldiers from other countries in the Black Sea region and the Caucasus. According to the channel, it is primarily a question of increasing the defense capability of the Georgian army and expanding mutual cooperation between NATO and the South Caucasian Republic.

    “Stoltenberg's visit is very important for the ruling pro-Western coalition "Georgian Dream". Despite the growing frustration in NATO, the government and most of the population of Georgia are considering membership in NATO as a defense [measure] in the region, which is dominated by its northern neighbor Russia," Das Erste stressed.

    Earlier, NATO member states refused Georgia membership in the alliance referring to the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    The opening of a joint training center can be understood as an attempt to reach a compromise with Georgia. NATO gets to increase the defense capabilities of the Georgian Army, without provoking Russia to take any retaliatory steps, the German TV channel reported.

    Related:

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    NATO Secretary-General to Open Training Center in Georgia Next Week - PM
    Georgia to Raise NATO Membership Issue at 2016 Warsaw Summit
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    NATO, military training center, Europe, Georgia
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