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“Reboot” starting from Georgia?2009-03-19 12:07
The USA and Russia start "rebooting" relations as stated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the NATO Council meeting in Brussels. It was where resumption of NATO-Russia relations was given official go-ahead. Tbilisi repeated a mantra that "in spite of "the reboot" the USA "will keep providing full support to Georgia". But reality makes Tbilisian strategists cool down their optimism.
This week is full of bad news for Saakashvili's regime. On March 17 American experts advised Barack Obama to be friends with Russia and keep Georgia and Ukraine away from NATO.
The recommendations below were expressed by a bipartisan commission comprising US high ranking ex diplomats and members of Congress. Its report entitled "The Right Direction for U.S. Policy Toward Russia" states: the US administration must accept that neither Ukraine nor Georgia is ready for NATO membership. Options other than NATO membership must be developed to demonstrate a commitment to their sovereignty. Sure the experts could not but recognize significance of commitments adopted at the Bucharest NATO summit.
Nevertheless their advice to president Obama is this: to stop thinking that "accession of Ukraine or Georgia into NATO is of high priority to the USA from the point of view of security", - Civil.ge reports.
Right after that Defense Minister of France Herve Morin stated that Ukraine's and Georgia's accession into NATO was impossible without prior consultations with Russia. "We believe the North Atlantic Alliance must concentrate on implementation of its major task - achievement of global stability - and we do not foresee NATO global expansion", - his words are quoted by Rosbalt.
It should be remarked Herve Morin made this statement on the same day when the parliament of the republic approved of President Nicolas Sarkozy's decision to bring France back to NATO military structure.
What will the White House administration do in a situation like this? Will it stick to ex president George Bush's line and pursue NATO's eastern expansion at all costs? At least official Tbilisi has a sacred belief that new US administration will keep patronizing Georgia as the former did.
Official Tbilisi interpreted the bad news for Georgia from America in this way: the recommendation reflects the position of a group of American politicians who are entitled to judge so as "the USA are an open, democratic country with various groups and opinions". The official position of new US administration is clear, as Speaker of Georgian Parliament David Bakradze specified according to Trend IA, and involves "continuation of full support to Georgia". The head of parliamentary committee for defense and security Givi Targamadze also told Georgian media that according to him "these recommendations will not alter approach of President Barack Obama's administration".
Meanwhile many Georgian politicians and experts are convinced that now Georgia's accession into NATO is a distant prospect. August events and the worldwide financial crisis have shifted former priorities and alignment of forces. In particular, this is the opinion of Ramaz Sakvarelidze, a politologist, who specifies: "The line of ex US president George Bush who fostered Georgia's and Ukraine's integration into NATO irritated a number of European counties.
They quietly but insistently kept accusing Georgia of being a risk to NATO able to drag the alliance into war. Considering that the new US administration is going to establish closer relations with Europe than the former had president Obama must take this position into account".