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Rice is not going to insist on a MAP for Georgia and Ukraine2008-12-01 09:35
The US Secretary of State said that at the upcoming NATO Foreign Ministers' meeting, she would not insist on Ukraine and Georgia being granted a membership action plan (MAP) for joining the alliance.
Rice clarified that the idea to accept Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, circumventing existing procedures, was not America's, but Great Britain's.
"There is a British, but I emphasize not an American, idea that we should look at other ways of fulfilling the provisions of the Bucharest declaration," said the chief American diplomat. "However this doesn't mean that lower criteria should be employed in accepting Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. It also doesn't mean that this process should be fast tracked."
The Secretary of State has backed her own colleagues into a corner. Right up until now most State Department officials have insisted that Georgia and Ukraine should be accepted into the alliance immediately. Obviously bypassing a MAP.
Clearly Condoleezza Rice has responded to the reality of the situation. Which is that France and Germany regularly undercut talk of giving these countries a Membership Action Plan (MAP) into the alliance. A day earlier the US Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor complained about precisely this.
"Several members of the alliance let it be clearly understood that Ukraine and Georgia would not receive a MAP at the NATO summit in December. If a MAP is impossible, we will look for other ways to do what the leaders and governments of Georgia and Ukraine are wanting. Perhaps the entire traditional process of joining is no longer relevant. It is so politicised and controversial that it should be abandoned. There are other ways of approaching the main aim, that of NATO membership."
This idea met with delight in Tbilisi. The State Minister for Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili immediately said what the Yanks should do in order for Saakashvili's administration to feel calmer.
"The North Atlantic alliance should devise a new framework for Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO," said the minister. "Poland didn't have a MAP, yet nevertheless it is now in the alliance. On this basis a new formula should emerge for Georgia and Ukraine's entry."
Admittedly, Berlin and Paris would undoubtedly protest any new formula. Poland's President Lech Kaczynski has already cursed them for their unwillingness to accept the two countries. Commenting again on his lucky escape when coming under fire outside Akhalgori, he said:
"I have put some European politicians in an uncomfortable position. Their claims that Russia has fulfilled its agreement follow a fixed philosophy. Firstly, to give in to Russia, secondly, to give in to Russia, and thirdly - to give in to Russia. And what's fourth, do you ask - to give in to Russia!"
This swipe was referring mainly to the French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Strangely, he did not acknowledge it. But instead Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk leapt headlong into the fray. He promised to carry out an urgent investigation to ascertain what exactly happened during Kaczynski's trip to Georgia. And he put Poland's Internal Security Agency (ABW) on the case. The security service's report appeared on 26th November. It was quoted in Warsaw's Dziennik: "Shots made in the vicinity of the Georgian and Polish presidents' car were provocation from the Georgian side". The newspaper added that the head of the ABW Krzysztof Bondaryk has distributed this document to the 16 leading Polish politicians.