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Georgia resorts to ultimatums regarding its NATO membership

Georgia's Minister of Defense Tinatin Khidasheli

Georgia demands an adequate result and a Membership Action Plan (MAP) from NATO at the July 9 Summit in Warsaw, Minister of Defense Tinatin Khidasheli said during her visit to Brussels, the Georgian Defense Ministry press office informs.

“Georgia demands that the positive assessments and the words NATO addresses Georgia along with our peacekeepers’ involvement in the NATO Mission have an adequate result at the NATO Summit in Warsaw. From now on and up to July 9, we will be working towards a Membership Action Plan (MAP). After receiving it, Georgia will become a member of the Alliance. It is stipulated by the Bucharest Declaration (signed after the NATO Bucharest Summit of 2008), it was mentioned also at the Summit in Wales (2014), and there is no alternative to it,” the minister said.

Khidasheli said Georgia wants NATO to perceive it like any other member-country. The minister said she is traveling to Europe in a week to hold bilateral meetings with her counterparts from other countries over the provision of a MAP to Georgia in 2016. The same topic will be discussed during her visit to the United States.

As for Georgia’s contract with France for purchase of defense weapons, Khidasheli said it will be signed shortly. She said the Russian factor impedes Georgia’s accession to the alliance. The minister said: “Georgia’s choice is to be independent. We exist and it is enough to irritate Russia.”

In the course of her visit to Brussels, the Georgian minister met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee Knud Bartels at the alliance’s headquarters. According to the Defense Ministry press office, Stoltenberg and Khidasheli discussed the NATO-Georgia relations and the implementation the NATO-Georgia Substantial Package. The key topic of the meeting was the NATO Summit in Warsaw.

The sides also discussed establishment of a Joint Training and Evaluation Center of NATO and Georgia near Tbilisi. “We have decided where the Center will be built and are now waiting for NATO’s official confirmation. NATO Secretary General has confirmed today that he will arrive in Georgia and the Center may be officially opened during his visit,” the Georgian minister said.

As EADaily reported earlier, after the third president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and his team came to power through the state coup of 2003, the country chose the path of integration into NATO. In early 2008, at the NATO Summit in Bucharest, they assured Georgia that it will become a member of the alliance sooner or later, which has not happened yet. In September 2014, at the NATO Summit in Wales, Georgia again remained without a MAP. Instead, the alliance offered the country a Substantial Package of Cooperation that along with other components implies the establishment of a Joint Training and Evaluation Center of NATO and Georgia by the end of 2015.

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