NATO will give a clear signal to Ukraine and Georgia that the alliance's door remains open, regardless of what decision is made on their request to join Membership Action Plan (MAP), Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the NATO Secretary General, said on April 2.
Speaking at a German Marshall Fund-organized Bucharest Conference on the sideline of the NATO summit, Scheffer said: “Let me be clear: NATO's enlargement dossier will not be closed after Bucharest. Ukraine and Georgia have both expressed their aspiration to be part of Euro-Atlantic integration, and part of NATO. Whatever decision we take tomorrow on their request to be granted the Membership Action Plan, our message will be positive and unambiguous. Yes, both countries have their place in Euro-Atlantic integration. Our door is open and, provided they meet our standards, one day they will pass through it. If they so wish.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister of Poland, Radoslaw Sikorski, told the Gazeta Wyborcza, that his country was lobbying for extending MAP for Georgia and Ukraine at the Bucharest summit. “I don't know whether the alliance's decision is positive. It'll be made at the last moment between the national leaders [during the summit],” he said.
When asked if Poland had a plan B in case Georgia and Ukraine are not offered MAP at the Bucharest summit, Sikorski responded: “We're encouraging NATO to send Ukraine and Georgia a message that they may be allowed to join the MAP in the foreseeable future. The skeptical countries say that the question is no longer of whether Ukraine and Georgia can join the NATO, but solely of the timing. If so, then we'll be sending messages that rapid progress is possible.”