- Title: BELGIUM: NATO chief calls on Georgia to respect rule of law
- Date: 5th June 2013
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (JUNE 5, 2013) (REUTERS) NATO MEMBERS' FLAGS OUTSIDE HEADQUARTERS FLAGS POLICEMEN PASSING BY SCULPTURE OUTSIDE NATO ENTRANCE U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE CHUCK HAGEL ARRIVING FOR MEETING AFGHAN DEFENCE MINISTER BISMILLAH KHAN MOHAMMADI ARRIVING BRITISH DEFENCE SECRETARY PHILIP HAMMOND ARRIVING MILITARY MAN WAITING TURKISH DEFENCE MINISTER ISMET YILMAZ ARRIVING JOURNALISTS WAITING ITALIAN DEFENCE MINISTER MARIO MAURO ARRIVING
- Embargoed: 20th June 2013 13:00
- Location: Belgium
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: Conflict,International Relations,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVACPX4CLJT85IPN9FO3UMPUQVFM
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: NATO defence ministers, including the new U.S Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, arrived on Wednesday (June 05) for a second day of meeting at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels.
The second day of meeting started with a meeting of NATO's Georgia Commission.
In his opening statement, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called on Georgia, a candidate for NATO membership, to respect the rule of law and to hold free elections by the end of the year.
"We expect from the Georgian government that it will respect the rule of law, human rights and the rights of minorities. We encourage Georgia to pursue these key reforms and to strive to hold free and fair presidential elections at the end of this year. We reiterate unwavering support for Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty within internationally recognized borders," Rasmussen said.
Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's coalition won the control of parliament in October last year, defeating the party of President Mikheil Saakashvili, a leader of the 2003 Rose Revolution protest movement, and is the favourite in opinion polls to take the presidency.
Friction between Ivanishvili and Saakashvili has threatened stability in the former Soviet republic, a conduit for pipelines pumping Caspian Sea energy westward and a platform for geopolitical rivalry between the United States and Russia.
Later on Wednesday, ministers will hold a second meeting, this time with non-NATO ISAF contributing members to discuss the details of alliance's training missions in Afghanistan after its main troop withdrawal in 2014.
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