U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said Britain had a proposal on how to proceed with the NATO’s Bucharest summit decision in respect of Georgia and Ukraine. She indicated that it might not be necessarily granting a Membership Action Plan (MAP) to these countries.
“There does not need at this point in time to be any discussion of MAP,” Rice told journalists in Washington on November 26.
She said that such an approach did not at all mean “change in policy.” “It really is just a question of how we would execute the Bucharest decision,” she added, referring to the decision of NATO leaders made in Bucharest in April, 2008 according to which Georgia and Ukraine would become NATO members sometime in the future.
“Georgia and Ukraine are not ready for membership. That is very clear,” she continued. “The point of view of the United States was stated at Bucharest that we think – thought that MAP is a way to prepare countries for membership. But there are other ways to prepare countries for membership. I would note that Poland the Czech Republic never had MAPs, for instance.”
Although Rice did not give details of the British plan, she said: “Intensifying our work within them [NATO-Georgia Commission and NATO-Ukraine Commission], intensifying our contacts within them is, we believe, a good alternative and will send a very strong signal that – while these countries are not ready for membership and still have many, many standards that they would have to meet - we will remain true to the Bucharest Declaration that they will, at some point in the future, be members of NATO.”
The U.S. insisted on granting MAP to Georgia and Ukraine at the NATO foreign ministerial summit in December, but it seems Washington had to back away from its push, as some western European states, including France and Germany were against.
Meanwhile, in Tbilisi, the Georgian States Minister for Reintegration, Temur Iakobashvili, said: “I think that at this point MAP is no longer relevant.”
“It was relevant in April. It seems that new mechanisms will be developed and we will certainly become a NATO member state,” he said.