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Leading Political Groups Sign Pro-NATO Declaration
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 12 Mar.'07 / 17:59

NATO membership is “the best guarantee for Georgia’s security, territorial integrity and democracy,” a memorandum signed by the major political parties in Georgia on March 12 reads.

The memorandum, which also rejects neutrality as an option for Georgia’s foreign policy, was signed by the ruling National Movement party, as well as the opposition parties New Rights, Industrialists, Conservatives and Republicans, all of which have seats in Georgia’s Parliament.

Non-partisan lawmakers united in the opposition Democratic Front parliamentary faction, as well as MPs from three other factions affiliated with the ruling majority have also joined the memorandum.

The document says that the signatories of the memorandum will cooperate to:
 
• Establish Georgia as a stable, liberal-democratic state;
• Develop foreign and defense policy, including “through participation in NATO-led peacekeeping and military operations for the settlement of regional and international conflicts, as well as through fighting against present challenges;”
• Develop the Georgian Armed Forces in accordance with NATO standards through “transparent budgetary financing;”
• Convince each Caucasus and Black Sea state that integration into NATO is Georgia’s sovereign choice that will increase stability in the region.

The Parliament will adopt a special statement to further back the memorandum at the session this week.
 
“The authorities and the opposition in the Parliament are united in respect to Georgia’s NATO aspiration. This unity is very important… This is a message to everyone, both to our friends and our ill-wishers,” Nino Burjanadze, the Parliamentary Chairperson, said.

“We will not turn away from this course, because this is the only guarantee of Georgia’s security, prosperity and integrity,” she added.

“This is a document that the country needs today,” Davit Usupashvili, leader of the opposition Republican Party, said.
 
“This is a message to Russia and a sign that it is hardly possible to find a political force in Georgia that they can rely on,” MP Zurab Tkemaladze, leader of the Industrialist Party, said.

The ruling National Movement party initiated the pro-NATO declaration after some, as officials put it, “marginalized political groups” called for the country to remain neutral instead of joining NATO.

Activists from the new National Forum party said recently they fear that NATO integration may lead to losing Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Leader of the Labor Party Shalva Natelashvili said on March 12 that he will sign the pro-NATO declaration only after President Saakashvili steps down.

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