NATO will develop “substantive package” ahead of the Alliance’s summit in September to help Georgia “come closer” to the Alliance, NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said on June 25.
NATO foreign ministers discussed at a working dinner on Tuesday in Brussels how to address open door policy at the summit in Wales. The progress made by the four countries that aspire to join the NATO - Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia, was also discussed, Rasmussen said.
“NATO’s door remains open and no third country has a veto over NATO enlargement,” he said. “Each country will continue to be judged on its merits. Each one has work to do, in different areas. And we will give aspirants the support they need to get them through the door.”
“This is a summit decision but we have agreement in principle that we will develop a substantive package for Georgia that will help it come closer to NATO. We will work out the elements in the coming weeks,” Rasmussen said, adding that NATO will assess “at the latest by the end of 2015” whether to invite Montenegro to join the Alliance.
NATO foreign ministers will continue discussions in Brussels on June 25, which will also include situation in Ukraine. Meeting of the foreign ministers of ISAF contributing nations is also planned.
Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, who is in Brussels, met the NATO Secretary General on June 24.
Reuters reported on June 20 citing unnamed NATO diplomat that around a dozen of NATO's 28 members, Germany and France among them, were reluctant to grant Georgia Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the summit in Wales and reaching of a consensus would be unlikely.
Instead, according to this report, NATO will develop a package that could include measures such as closer political cooperation, training the Georgian armed forces and strengthening NATO's liaison office in Georgia. The Georgian officials confirmed that such package is being developed, but also said that reported elements are only part of the broader proposal, which is still being discussed.
At the 2008 Bucharest summit NATO leaders refused to offer MAP to Georgia, but pledged that Georgia will join the NATO sometime in the future. The Bucharest summit decision, however, also says that MAP should be the next step for Georgia on its “direct way to membership”; references to the need of going through MAP phase before joining the alliance are also made in NATO’s subsequent decisions in respect of Georgia.