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Mar 19 2021

NATO forces visit Georgia

POTI, Georgia – Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2), composed of ESPS Cristobal Colon (Spain) as flagship, BGS Smeli (Bulgari), ROS Regina Maria (Romania) and TCG Kemalreis (Turkey), is visiting Georgia 15-18 March 2021.

During their port visit, Commander of SNMG2 raised his pennant on TCG Kemalreis, embarking temporarily with part of his staff and, with this change of flagship, demonstrating flexibility, interoperability and cohesion between Allies.

Earlier in the week, severe weather conditions delayed the Group’s entry into harbour, however a small socially-distanced welcoming ceremony by the Georgian authorities was able to take place on 17 March, when the ships finally entered the port of Poti.

This cooperation between NATO and partners, like Georgia, is an essential tool to improve interoperability and reinforce cohesion, and with no doubt, contributes to Alliance’s success

In addition, SNMG2 and the Georgian Coast Guard had the opportunity to interact with each other with activities such as information sharing, training briefs, as well as communications and manoeuvring exercises at sea after SNMG2 departed from Poti on Thursday. Integrated activities such as these contribute to regional maritime capacity building process as well as increase mutual understanding, interoperability and cohesion between Allies and partners.

"This is the second visit of SNMG2 to Georgia in less than a year. Georgia has been an important partner for NATO since it joined the Partnership for Peace program in 1994. Support of Georgia to operation Active Endeavour in the past and information sharing between Georgian Coast Guard Operations Command and NATO has proven to be advantageous to both sides. This cooperation between NATO and partners, like Georgia, is an essential tool to improve interoperability and reinforce cohesion, and with no doubt, contributes to Alliance’s success and increases the security of the whole international maritime community", said Rear Admiral Manuel Aguirre, Commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two.

The Black Sea is of strategic importance to NATO. With three Allied nations, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and two regional partners, Georgia and Ukraine as littoral states, cooperation in the region is of particular importance for NATO. Regular presence of a Standing Naval Forces in the region is a way for the Alliance to show its presence, enhance interoperability between Allies and partners, and demonstrate NATO’s commitment to Black Sea security.

After completing their visit to Georgia, SNMG2 will resume its programme of activities in the Black Sea, which include participation in the multinational exercise Sea Shield ‘21, and port visits to NATO countries in the region, namely Constanta (Romania) and Samsun (Turkey).

SNMG2 is one of four Standing Forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To respond to contingency situations, additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff on board and the ships of the Group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations.

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