NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says that Georgia will one day join the alliance, 10 years after the military organization first promised the former Soviet Republic it would become a member.

After chairing talks in Brussels on Wednesday between Georgian and NATO defense ministers, Stoltenberg said that “NATO’s door remains open.”

U.S. Secretary for Defence Jim Mattis, left, shakes hands with Georgia’s Defence Minister Levan Izoria prior to a meeting of NATO defence ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, Pool)

He called on Russia to end its recognition of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia “and to withdraw its forces from these regions of Georgia.”

Stoltenberg said the allies “encourage Georgia to continue along the path of reform.”

People walk along the main hall of NATO headquarters prior to a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Russian forces entered Georgia in August 2008, a few months after NATO leaders first promised the country it would join, along with Ukraine.

Russia’s prime minister warned in July that any attempt by NATO to incorporate Georgia could trigger a “horrible” new conflict.

Source: The Associated Press

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