U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement today supporting Georgia's aspirations to join NATO:
"Georgia has repeatedly proven itself to be a reliable friend and strategic partner of the United States, and it is time for the U.S. to further demonstrate our commitment to Georgia's defense and sovereignty by supporting its membership in NATO.
"Georgia has contributed significantly to promote key security interests of the United States and our NATO allies around the world. Today, Georgia has almost 1,000 combat troops assigned to NATO's mission in Afghanistan. Georgia also contributed nearly 2,000 troops to Iraq, and is a member of the Proliferation Security Initiative.
"Georgia's security and sovereignty are critical to U.S. interests in the region. Georgia was invaded by Russian forces in 2008, and large portions of its territory remain under Russian occupation.
"I strongly urge our Administration to work with our allies at the NATO Summit in Chicago later this month to ensure that Georgia becomes a full member of the Alliance as soon as possible."