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Chair of the Defence and Security Committee of the Parliament of Georgia, Irakli Sesiashvili, stated: “A session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly has only been held in non-NATO member countries four times and all of these four countries are NATO members today.”

FactCheck verified the accuracy of the statement.

On 26-29 May 2017, Georgia will host the Spring Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly for the first time. The session will be attended by the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, Rose Gottemoeller; President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Paolo Alli, and General Secretary of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, David Hobbs. The President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, together with the Speaker of the Parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze, as well as heads of different agencies and NGO representatives will also attend the session. The Georgian side believes that holding the session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Tbilisi is a demonstration of NATO’s firm support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

Sessions of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly are held twice annually in different countries in spring (Spring Session) and autumn (Annual Session). The sessions are attended by 257 delegates from 28 NATO-member countries as well as representatives of 13 associated countries, 4 Mediterranean associated states and the European Parliament.

Georgia is the fifth non-NATO member country where a session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly is being held. Previously, there was a Spring Session in Bulgaria in 2002 (Bulgaria became a member of NATO in 2004), a Spring Session in Lithuania in 2001 (Lithuania became a member of NATO in 2004), an Annual Session in Romania in 1997 (Romania became a member of NATO in 2004) and a Spring Session in Hungary in 1995 (Hungary became a member of NATO in 1999).

Conclusion

Holding a session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Tbilisi sends a political message that NATO supports Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Georgia is one of the five non-NATO member countries where this kind of event has been organised. Previously, NATO Parliamentary Assembly sessions were held in Bulgaria (2002), Lithuania (2001), Romania (1997) and Hungary (1995). After a few years, these countries became members of NATO.

FactCheck concludes that Irakli Sesiashvili’s statement is TRUE.