Tillerson to NATO: Russian aggression in Ukraine biggest threat to European Union security

Tillerson to NATO: Russian aggression in Ukraine biggest threat to EU security

US Secretary of State Tillerson: “We strongly support Georgia's NATO membership”

In a press conference, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg asked Russian Federation to withdraw from two Georgian autonomous provinces it occupied militarily and opened again the door to Georgia membership.

He said, "We remain concerned by the deepening of Russia's relations with the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia".

Following "a lot" of discussion during the NATO meeting over what is the proper engagement with Russia, Rex Tillerson said there was "broad consensus among all the NATO members that there is no normalization of dialogue with Russia today" and that the dialogue would continue through periodic NATO-Russia Council meetings. Speaking after a dinner where he discussed Russia with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign ministers Tuesday, Tillerson took a tougher stance than U.S. President Donald Trump, who has sought better relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Georgia and Russian Federation fought a short war in August 2008. Only a few countries followed Russia's lead. "And we are engaged in increasingly close dialogue on the Black Sea region and the cooperation in the region", Stoltenberg said.

In late July, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited Georgia in a trip timed to correspond with the Noble Partner 2017 military exercises that featured some 1,600 U.S., 800 Georgian, and other allied troops in a show of defiance to Moscow.

"Our NATO allies stand firm in our support of Ukraine's sovereignty and their territorial integrity", said Tillerson, according to VOA.

The Secretary General also noted that NATO Foreign Ministers discussed "progress Georgia continues to make along the path of reform, including with its successful efforts to modernize its armed forces".

"In a constantly evolving security landscape, NATO's partnership with the European Union is more important than ever", the secretary general said before the meeting. The Commission also reviewed the implementation of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, which, according to the Secretary General, "is strengthening Georgia's defense institutions, and assisting it on its path towards membership in the Alliance".

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