NATO will defend Georgia if it joins: US military chief

September 15th, 2008 - 10:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Ankara, Sep 15 (DPA) NATO will respond to defend Georgia in the wake of any aggression by Russia if and when it becomes a member of the alliance, US military commander Admiral Mike Mullen said Monday “Should Georgia become a member of NATO, NATO is committed to a collective defence when any country is attacked… if that happens, if and when they become members, and that is to be determined, NATO would respond in accordance with the alliance requirement,” Mullen, the chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff told reporters during a visit to Turkey Monday.

“All of us are concerned with what Russia did, with the invasion. When we look to the future we have to figure out a future that doesn’t involve that kind of incursion on the part of Russia on any country.”

On the controversial subject of the US sending military ships through the Bosporus Straits to Georgia, Mullen said that the 1936 Treaty of Montreux, which governs shipping through the waterway that bisects the Turkish city of Istanbul, was not broken as the ships sent to Georgia were only carrying humanitarian aid.

Mullen also said that NATO would continue to operate in the Black Sea, noting that the Black Sea was an international sea and that a number of navies operate there.

Earlier Monday, the US military chief met his Turkish counterpart General Ilker Basbug and also held meetings with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

During those talks Mullen reiterated US support for Turkey’s continued fight against Kurdish Workers’ Party separatists.

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