NATO insists Georgia will join, despite separatist challenge

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NATO insists Georgia will join, despite separatist challenge
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks at a press conference during a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Thursday, July 12, 2018. NATO leaders gather in Brussels for a two-day summit. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is insisting that Georgia will one day join the world’s biggest security alliance, despite separatist ambitions in parts of the former Soviet republic.

Stoltenberg said Thursday: “Georgia will become a member of NATO.” He said the 29-nation alliance supports the territorial integrity of Georgia, including its sovereignty over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in 2008, which led to the regions declaring independence. Russia has since been supporting them financially and militarily.

Despite Georgia’s important contribution to NATO operations, the alliance is unlikely to invite the country in until the conflict with the two regions has been resolved.