NATO-Georgia: access denied?29.03.2010 | 21:32
Despite the statements made by the Georgian representatives about the republic's intention to enhance the process of the country's preparation for entering into NATO, Secretary General of the North-Atlantic Alliance Anders Fogh Rasmussen refused to specify the terms of involving Georgia into Membership Action Plan (MAP) during his meeting with the Georgian leader Mikhail Saakashvili. GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked the Georgian political experts why the resolution of an important issue like that is delayed for such a long time.
As is known, at the end of last week, representatives of the current Georgian regime stated that the republic is going to enhance the process of preparing the country for entering into NATO so that in two or three years the country would be ready for a constructive dialogue about joining the alliance. "We will have to convince some of the alliance members that Georgia's membership is important for them and that our entry will create no problems for NATO", - State Minister for European and European-Atlantic Integration Georgiy Baramidze underlined.
The possibility of the country's near entrance into North-Atlantic Alliance was discussed at the meeting of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili. Nevertheless, NATO Secretary General refused to specify the possible term of Georgia's involvement in Membership Action Plan (MAP) required for entering North-Atlantic Alliance. "It would be too early to give any appraisals, - Rasmussen said. - It depends on the progress concerning the reforms in Georgia. We are going to make an individual appraisal of each country and the final decision will be based upon the fulfillment of the required criteria".
In his turn, President of Georgia underlined that his country has undertaken a number of serious reforms lately. He said that the implementation of the reforms initiated in his country is going on. Saakashvili explained that the point at issue is the corruption control and the military reform carried out in the country. "I would like to assure that the state of reforms is not expected to go down but is expected to be improved in future", - Saakashvili underlined.
GeorgiaTimes correspondent has discussed the reason of delaying an issue that is so much important for Tbilisi with the Georgian experts and political analysts.
Mamuka Areshidze, Head of the Caucasian Strategic Research Center non-governmental organization
There are certain versions why NATO does not specify the terms of MAP submission: North-Atlantic Alliance has made certain conditions in respect of the Georgian government. They concern the democratic improvement, including the issues of the court processes, human right issues and, finally, the local elections in May. NATO is going to refrain from making any definite steps in respect of Tbilisi until these issues are resolved.
The second point is the factor of Russia and the process of the so-called "reload". Moreover, the disarmament process is very important for the West now, which fact is putting breaks on the decisions on admitting certain countries as members of NATO. The territorial processes in Georgia may also play their passive role.
I believe that there will be no admittance of the republic as the North-Atlantic Alliance member in future, so long as certain large countries of the block, such as Germany, are against Georgia's entry.
Gia Nodia, Director of the Caucasian Institute of Peace and Democracy
The terms of Georgia's entry to NATO have never been specified, so there is nothing surprising in it now. If any terms are specified, it means the problem is settled. However, the problem of admitting the republic into North-Atlantic Alliance is the problem of a consensus between the member-countries of the block. Judging by the statement made by the Secretary General of the organization, there is no consensus so far.
-However, neither did Rasmussen specify the terms of MAP provision.
However, MAP is not required and Georgia may be admitted as member without it. As is known, there are certain annual programs that the country is currently realizing. Thus, there is no necessity of any definite procedures. First of all, there is the necessity of a political decision.
-Does it mean that, considering the situation, there are not so many aspects that depend directly on Georgia?
Yes, it does. Still, reforms are to be carried out anyway, for it is Georgia itself that needs them primarily. The republic will have to be politically ready to enter NATO should there be a suitable political moment. The reforms are also needed to decrease the number of arguments of Georgia's opponents in the alliance.
-When should one expect the situation with Georgia's entry into NATO clear?
Well, that is not obviously going to happen in the nearest future. Perhaps, in a year we will be able to talk about the terms of settling this problem.
-Who is the main opponent of the republic in the alliance?