U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on October 9 that the United States was pushing NATO to put Georgia on a formal track to alliance membership in December, Reuters reported.
“I urge our allies to support MAP for Georgia in December and to support Georgia's efforts in accomplishing needed reforms,” Gates told reporters on the sidelines of a NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Budapest.
NATO rejected Georgia’s bid for a MAP at its April summit in Bucharest, but gave temporizing assurance that it would become a member of the alliance in the future.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in St. Petersburg on October 2 that it was “too soon” for NATO to provide MAP to Georgia and Ukraine.
Gates reiterated the U.S.'s “unwavering support” for Georgia's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
“We have sought a constructive relationship with Russia, but unfortunately their behavior has undermined security in the region and raised real concerns about their intentions. Russia's invasion of Georgia in my view has achieved, will achieve no strategic objective,” he added.
Meanwhile, the NATO-Georgia Commission will hold its first session at ministerial level on October 10 to discuss political and security cooperation matters.
On October 9, the U.S. defense secretary and his Georgian counterpart, Davit Kezerashvili, held talks in Budapest and discussed military assistance to Georgia and Georgia's NATO aspirations.