Georgia is ready for launching membership talks with the NATO, but there is no such readiness from some members of the Alliance, which pursue “moderate approach” towards enlargement, Alexi Petriashvili, Georgia’s state minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration said on June 25.
He said that talks will continue to get as much as possible in the condition of this “moderate” stance on enlargement among the member states, but he explicitly stressed that some of the proposals, among them strengthening of NATO’s liaison office in Georgia, falls far short of what Tbilisi expects from the Alliance.
NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said in Brussels on June 25 where Alliance foreign ministers are holding talks, that NATO will develop “substantive package” ahead of the summit in Wales in September to help Georgia “come closer” to the Alliance; he did not mention membership action plan (MAP), which Georgia wants to get from NATO.
“It is still early to make final conclusions, but as it seems NATO has rather moderate approach towards enlargement,” Alexi Petriashvili told journalists in Tbilisi on June 25.
“We should achieve maximum in the condition of this existing moderate approach, so the work will continue,” the Georgian state minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration said.
“Details of this reinforced cooperation package will be agreed in coming weeks and months. But I want to note about what has already been voiced concerning the strengthening of the [NATO] liaison office [in Tbilisi] – that’s not really what the Georgia authorities aspire to,” Petriashvili said.
Reuters reported on June 20 that instead of extending membership action plan (MAP) to Georgia, 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 authorities are ready for launching talks on NATO membership, if there is such readiness on the part of the alliance. Today we see that there is no such readiness from some [NATO] member states,” Petriashvili said.
Petriashvili, however, also said there should be no frustration.
“Nothing will stop us,” he said. “No one will catch up with us, we will join NATO faster than others… Georgia will get maximum from [the Wales] summit – maximum of what NATO can give… Process is moving forward.”
Speaking after meeting with his Latvian counterpart Raimonds Vējonis in Tbilisi on June 25, Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said that although Georgia is not right now ready for full membership in NATO, but it’s ready for launching membership talks.
“Today Georgia and NATO are discussing next step for integration – that is membership action plan, MAP. We will need some more years to become fully ready – with political system, security and level of defense capabilities – for becoming full members of NATO and there is nothing surprise in that. What we are talking now is Georgia’s next step on its integration path,” Alasania said.
“I think that what is now happing in Ukraine – Russia’s aggression, and regional security context indicates on the [need for] launching of membership talks with Georgia very soon,” he added.