STATEMENT: Ambassador Norland’s response to a question at a conference sponsored by the International Republican Institute in Tbilisi (March 4)

“I am not going to comment specifically on the statement by the leader of a NATO country.  I would just say standing here in Tbilisi, I think the important thing is for Georgia to do everything it can to enhance its qualifications for  NATO membership.  Georgia is pursuing, I think, a very thoughtful strategy to defend its national security right now.  It is focusing on making itself strong economically, and link economically with its neighbors, it is focusing on enhancing its military capabilities — the deterrence qualities of its army, including training of soldiers for service in Afghanistan — and it is pursuing an approach of diplomatic dialogue to try to try to get as far as possible by talking. So right now, Georgia is doing everything it can, and I think when the time comes, NATO will make appropriate decisions.”