Saakashvili: Georgia 'Not Fixated Only' on NATO
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 26 Sep.'10 / 15:37

President Saakashvili said Georgia still aspired to join the NATO, but said Tbilisi was not "fixated" on that goal.

Asked during an interview with Al Jazeera's English-language channel whether he was optimistic that Georgia would join NATO by 2013, when his second and final presidential term expires, Saakashvili responded: "We never made any deadlines."

After the NATO Bucharest Summit in April, 2008, Saakashvili announced: "I am sure that we will become a NATO member before my presidential term expires [in 2013].”

In the interview with Al Jazeera's David Frost, Saakashvili also said that although Georgia's aspiration remained to join the NATO, a difficult geopolitical conditions in the region should also be taken into consideration.

"You should realize that we are a small country in the middle of very complicated geopolitical region," he said. "We are strategically an important country... there are lots of political factors in play."

"Of course we did not change our mind [in respect of NATO aspiration], but on the other hand, we are developing relations with all the other countries in the region. We are developing relations with the countries to the south, with other former Soviet countries - countries like Ukraine; in Central Asia, Caspian [region]; Turkey and the European Union; we started Association Agreement talks with the European Union... We signed strategic relations treaty with the United States."

"So we are not fixated only on one goal, there are many other things," Saakashvili added. "Of course we never gave up our aspirations - we want to be members of a serious club, we want to have secured future." 

During the interview, Saakashvili was also asked whether he intended to remain in power as PM, after expiration of his presidential term. In his response Saakashvili used the similar formulation he usually applies to when speaking on the matter. He said that  he was "not concentrated on what happens after 2013", instead he was focused on implementation of his goal of making economic and political reforms irreversible before 2013 and also added that he would do his best to keep his team of reforms and "ideology of reforms" in power after his presidential term expires. 

"How can I help to keep it - I'll decide that when the time approaches," he added.

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