Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Tuesday restated the country's aspiration to join NATO but admitted his country still has much to do before it will be accepted into the alliance.
Saakashvili delivered his annual state of the nation address in parliament as NATO Chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer wrapped up a visit to Tbilisi seen as a show of solidarity with Georgia after its military conflict with Russia.
"We understand there is a long way towards NATO, but we clearly see this road and we will pass through this road," he told lawmakers.
Just hours earlier, de Hoop Scheffer offered support for Tbilisi's bid for membership in a speech to university students, saying the road to NATO is "wide open" for Georgia.
Georgia is waiting for approval of a Membership Action Plan, which will set in motion formal talks to join the alliance, whose members are still split over the pace of admitting Georgia.