President Saakashvili said that the wording used in final declaration of NATO Lisbon summit in respect of Georgia amounted to removal of Membership Action Plan (MAP) stage for Georgia in its process towards eventual membership to the Alliance.
“In the prior decisions there was that Georgia will become NATO member without prejudice to MAP – that is to say that Georgia had first to go through Membership Action Plan. If we read language carefully [in Lisbon summit declaration], now we will go through NATO-Georgia Commission and other already existing formats so we do not need any further stages; this is one big [hurdle] that has been removed for Georgia,” Saakashvili said at a news conference in Strasbourg after addressing the European Parliament.
The Lisbon summit’s final declaration makes no direct mentioning of MAP in respect of Georgia. It, however, reiterates the 2008 Bucharest summit decision, as well as in addition reaffirms “subsequent decisions”, which among others also includes the one of 2009 Strasbourg/Kehl summit in which NATO leaders said that Georgia’s Annual National Programme, setting reforms targets, will help Georgia in advancing its reforms “without prejudice to further decisions which must be taken about MAP”.