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‘Intensified Dialogue’ with Georgia Yet under Consideration in NATO
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 26 Jul.'06 / 17:27

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said on July 26 that it is not yet clear when NATO will be ready to launch an Intensified Dialogue with Georgia, as the issue is still under consideration.

Scheffer was speaking at a joint press conference with visiting Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli in Brussels after a session of the North Atlantic Council, during which the PM informed the allies about ongoing reforms in Georgia.

Intensified Dialogue (ID) with NATO is viewed as a precursor to being invited to enter the alliance Membership Action Plan (MAP), while the latter should eventually lead to NATO membership.

The NATO Secretary General stressed that an Intensified Dialogue will definitely be launched with Georgia but “the when question – I cannot answer at the moment, because the allies are still discussing this.”

He said that the issue will be on the agenda of the NATO ministerial meeting in New York scheduled for September and also will be discussed at the NATO summit in Riga this November.

PM Nogaideli said at a news conference that “we think that time has come for Georgia to take the next step in [the process] of NATO integration and launch an Intensified Dialogue.”

Before his departure to Brussels on July 25, PM Nogaideli told reporters that “the aim of this visit is to move into an ‘Intensified Dialogue’ with NATO.”

Scheffer noted that Georgia has made “considerable progress” in implementing its reform targets in the frames of its Individual Partnership Action Plan with NATO.

He said there is “a large degree of support, a firm support, a strong support I would say for the reform process in Georgia.”
 
“The allies, of course, recognize Georgia’s ambitions with regard to its relationship to NATO and follow very closely the developments in your country. The process of integration into Euro-Atlantic structures and institutions, including in NATO, is a performance-driven one,” Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said in his statement for media at the North Atlantic Council session.

PM Nogaideli said at the session that Georgia has made it clear that “for us number one foreign policy objective is to join NATO in the nearest possible future.”

“And that is why we are so often here [in the Brussels]. We hope that you are not fed up by us yet,” PM Nogaideli added.

After the session the Georgian PM told reporters that he has informed the North Atlantic Council about ongoing reforms in local self-governance, as well as  “very ambitious” judiciary reforms “which will take five years to implement.” He said that defense and economic reforms were also discussed during the session.

PM Nogaideli said that he has also reiterated Georgia’s commitment to peacefully solve secessionist conflicts.

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