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Georgia proclaims itself as NATO zone2011-03-21 15:48
Georgia's aspiration to join NATO looks amusing at times. Tbilisi's chances to hop on the NATO's tram footboard are fading every day, but hope is the last to die. This week a corner of "NATO information center in Georgia" was opened in a school of Ergneti village on the South Ossetian border. Georgia explicitly states that Ergneti, like any other village in Georgia, is inside NATO zone.
Official Tbilisi is still obsessed with the fixed idea of NATO membership against all odds. The country leaders seem to be blind to the fact that NATO entry is impossible within old-time borders and in the state of conflict with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Besides, the country must comply with NATO standards not only in terms of a military component. Economic and social spheres are important too. Georgian peacekeepers in Afghanistan won't guarantee trust for Mikheil Saakashvili in Brussels.
Now Georgian authorities have a new tactics. Realizing that the country won't accede into NATO in the next decade, local diplomats started handing the issue over to others. For instance, not long ago Mishiko stated that a major obstacle for the country's entry into the EU and NATO is Germany.
"Ironically, everyone admits that Georgia makes good progress but no one allows us to move ahead, - the president complained. - This is not good. Speaking about our NATO accession I will say - I know nothing on the issue. Ask this question in Washington, in Brussels and particularly in Berlin". Revelation of the Georgian leader looked so awkward that Germany didn't reply. Then Saakashvili understood he had made a stupid thing.
There is no other word for the things that are happening now. Last week a corner of "NATO information center in Georgia" was opened in a secondary school of Ergneti village on the border with South Ossetia. The event could have been neglected if not for a statement by Tengiz Gogotishvili in charge of the "center". According to him Ergneti, like any other village in Georgia is "NATO zone".
The statement stirred resonance in both Moscow and Tskhinval. Alexander Lukashevich, a spokesman for the Russian ministry of foreign affairs reminded that the above mentioned "information center" is a structure established and supported by Georgian government that promotes "worthwhileness" of the country's entry into the North Atlantic Alliance. "The fact that the propaganda action was set in Ergneti is not incidental. Regular meetings between Russian border service and representatives of the EU monitoring mission are regularly held there", - the Russian diplomat emphasized.
According to the Russian ministry of foreign affairs, the purpose of these precarious initiatives is to involve the North Atlantic Alliance into settlement of "Georgia's territorial integrity" notorious issue in neglect of the opinion of neighbors - Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Indeed, the show-off in Ergneti, probably the only negotiating point for a direct dialogue between Georgians and Abkhazians, looks surprising. Mikheil Saakashvili keeps reiterating the need to settle relationships with closest neighbors, while in reality things are different.
Tskhinval considers the opening of a corner of "information center" in Ergneti as a provocation. "Contrary to declared functions, this center will carry out intelligence activities against South Ossetia", - Inal Pliev, an independent South Ossetian expert says. The politologist remarks that the door has been shut on Georgia but Tbilisi is still trying to achieve advantages by hook or by crook.
It seems Brussels will be called to responsibility for Tbilisi's demonstrative behavior. Firstly, in light of US-Russian reset these "performances" might have a negative effect on NATO-Moscow cooperation. Secondly, even the remotest "NATO zone" is as far as the Moon for Georgia.