Chicago summit declaration of NATO leaders welcomes Georgia’s progress in implementing reforms to meet its Euro-Atlantic aspirations and similar to previous ones, again reiterates the alliance’s decision that Georgia will one day join the NATO.
The declaration repeats the wording of 2010 Lisbon summit's final document, saying: “At the 2008 Bucharest Summit we agreed that Georgia will become a member of NATO and we reaffirm all elements of that decision, as well as subsequent decisions.”
During 2009 summit in Strasbourg/Kehl NATO leaders said that Georgia’s Annual National Programme, setting reforms targets, would help Georgia in advancing its reforms “without prejudice to further decisions which must be taken about MAP” – Membership Action Plan, a precursor to an eventual membership to which Georgia was refused at 2008 Bucharest summit.
The Chicago summit declaration says that NATO-Georgia Commission and Georgia’s Annual National Programme (ANP) have “a central role in supervising the process set in hand at the Bucharest Summit.”
“We welcome Georgia’s progress since the Bucharest Summit to meet its Euro-Atlantic aspirations through its reforms, implementation of its Annual National Programme, and active political engagement with the Alliance in the NATO-Georgia Commission. In that context, we have agreed to enhance Georgia’s connectivity with the Alliance, including by further strengthening our political dialogue, practical cooperation, and interoperability with Georgia,” the declaration reads.
It says that NATO encourages and actively supports ongoing reforms in Georgia, including democratic, electoral, judicial, security and defense reforms.
“We stress the importance of conducting free, fair, and inclusive elections in 2012 and 2013,” the declaration reads.
The declaration notes separately about a meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers with their counterparts from four states – Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Georgia, which “aspire to NATO membership.”
The meeting, which is taking place on May 21 in frames of the Chicago summit, will take stock of these countries “individual progress, plan future cooperation, and exchange views with our partners.”
“We are grateful to these partners that aspire to NATO membership for the important contributions they are making to NATO-led operations, and which demonstrate their commitment to our shared security goals,” the declaration reads.
Before the declaration was adopted, President Saakashvili said on May 20 that putting Georgia in the context of three Balkan NATO aspirant countries was one of the major positive elements that Tbilisi was getting from this year’s NATO summit.
The declaration reiterates NATO support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and welcomes Georgia’s “full compliance” with the EU-mediated 2008 ceasefire agreement and “other unilateral measures to build confidence”, as well as Tbilisi’s non-use of force pledge and calls “on Russia to reciprocate.”
Similar to its two previous declarations from 2009 and 2010 summits, the Chicago summit communiqué again calls on Russia “to reverse its recognition of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia.”
The declaration, which welcomes “important progress” in NATO-Russia cooperation, also says that the Alliance continues “to be concerned by the build-up of Russia’s military presence on Georgia’s territory” and continues “to call on Russia to ensure free access for humanitarian assistance and international observers” into the breakaway regions.
The declaration also expresses NATO’s appreciation for Georgia’s “substantial contribution, in particular as the second largest non-NATO troop contributing nation to ISAF, to Euro-Atlantic security.”
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