By Diyar Guldogan
NATO is "strongly committed" to Georgia's security and territorial integrity, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.
The NATO chief's comments came ahead of a NATO-Georgia Commission meeting in Brussels on the sidelines of the foreign ministers' summit.
"NATO is grateful for Georgia’s many contributions to Euro-Atlantic security, especially the service of the highly-skilled men and women of the Georgian military," he added in a news conference after the meeting.
Stoltenberg raised concern over the deepening of Russia's relations with the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia.
"We call on Russia to end its recognition of these regions and withdraw its forces from Georgian territory," he added.
He said NATO was "fully" committed to
"NATO continues to benefit from Georgia's advice on security issues relating to the Black Sea. And we are engaged in increasingly close dialogue on the Black Sea region and the cooperation in the region," Stoltenberg said.
Stoltenberg congratulated Tbilisi for continuing progress on its reforms.
Georgia has long lobbied for membership in the EU and NATO, aspirations that were exacerbated by Russia’s 2008 invasion that resulted in the separation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Tbilisi’s control.
Answering a question about the reported U.S. plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Stoltenberg said he would not "speculate" since President Donald Trump had not delivered his speech yet.
"NATO is not part of the peace process in the Middle East but NATO allies strongly support all efforts to find a peaceful negotiated solution to the conflict in the Middle East," he said.