Georgia is likely to receive “new instrument” for closer NATO integration at the Alliance’s summit in Wales in early September, but it has yet to be decided whether it will be a Membership Action Plan (MAP) or something else, Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said on February 10.
“There is a high probability that at the next summit we will have new instruments for closer integration with NATO. Whether it will be called a MAP or it will be a new instrument… it has yet to be decided,” Alasania said in an interview with the Rustavi 2 TV.
In a February 5, 2014 letter to U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, forty members of the U.S. House of Representatives urge to support NATO membership for Montenegro and Macedonia at this year's NATO summit, as well as to encourage continued progress in implementing the MAP for Bosnia-Herzegovina, and to advocate granting MAP for Georgia.
“I am sure that this letter will be translated into concrete actions of the U.S. Department of State both in the NATO headquarters and in the European capitals,” Alasania said.
Commenting on U.S. congressmen’s letter, Georgian parliament speaker, Davit Usupashvili, who is now visiting Romania, said that he is “optimistic” about 2014 NATO summit, but also stressed that it has yet to be decided how Georgia’s progress will be reflected in summit decisions.
“Our position is very clear: Georgia expects progress from the 2014 NATO summit,” Usupashvili said. “We do not know yet wording through which this progress will be expressed, but we expect that there will be a progress. This is of vital importance for the country and this is understood by NATO-member states and I am sure that the decision will be made, which will confirm this progress.”
“NATO membership is a goal for the future, but getting closer to NATO, which will increase our security guarantees, is a process which will be strengthened this year, I am sure about it,” Usupashvili added.
NATO Military Committee, which is the primary source of military advice to the Alliance’s civilian decision-making bodies and is made up of senior military officers from NATO member states, will start a two-day visit to Georgia on February 11.
Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, said that this visit is very important as it will be a good opportunity for the Alliance to look into reforms in the Georgian armed forces and assess country’s readiness for making next step on its NATO integration path.