- New concept reiterates Bucharest summit decision;
- Focus made on partnership within NATO-Georgia Commission;
- NATO-Russia cooperation is of "strategic importance";
- This cooperation should be based on respect of territorial integrity of countries.
NATO's new Strategic Concept, adopted by the Alliance leaders at the summit in Lisbon on November 19, in respect of Georgia makes reference to its decision of the Bucharest summit in 2008 in which the Alliance said Georgia will join the NATO sometime in the future.
The Strategic Concept, which will serve as the Alliance's roadmap for the next ten years, says that NATO will aim "to continue and develop the partnerships with Ukraine and Georgia within the NATO-Ukraine and NATO-Georgia Commissions, based on the NATO decision at the Bucharest summit 2008, and taking into account the Euro-Atlantic orientation or aspiration of each of the countries."
Speaking at a news conference after the document was adopted, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said that the Strategic Concept "is not simply a statement."
"This is an action plan, which sets out clearly the concrete steps NATO will take. This action plan will put in place an Alliance that is more effective, more engaged and more efficient than ever before," he said.
During the summit in Bucharest in April, 2008, after heated debates, NATO leaders refused to grant Georgia Membership Action Plan (MAP), a precursor to eventual accession into the Alliance; NATO leaders, however, stated that Georgia would become NATO member sometime in the future. At the time in public statements the Georgian leadership had to welcome the decision. However, after the August war President Saakashvili described this decision by NATO as "a strategic mistake",
In September, 2008 NATO-Georgia Commission was established, which remains a main mechanism through which NATO-Georgia cooperation is supervised, including implementation of reform targets set in Georgia's Annual National Programme (ANP), which is reviewed annually by the Alliance.
ANP, described as “a roadmap” for Georgia’s eventual membership, was introduced at NATO foreign ministerial summit in Brussels in December, 2008.
ANP, however, does not replace MAP and NATO leaders during the Strasbourg/Kehl summit in April, 2009 stated that ANP, "without prejudice to further decisions which must be taken about MAP", would help Georgia in advancing its reforms.
Georgian First Deputy Foreign Minister, Giga Bokeria, said on November 19, that Georgia was expecting that NATO summit in Lisbon would give a "firm" recommitment to its decision at the Bucharest summit in 2008 to eventual Georgian membership.
“We hope and we have a ground to hope that at this summit a very clear message will be made about future of Georgia’s NATO membership – that is a very firm reiteration of the NATO Bucharest summit decision; as you know there have been speculations on this issue and it is important to remove all the question marks about it,” Bokeria said.
NATO's new Strategic Concept also reiterates the Alliance's open door policy for "all European democracies which share the values of our Alliance, which are willing and able to assume the responsibilities and obligations of membership, and whose inclusion can contribute to common security."
On Russia the document says that for NATO cooperation with this country is of "strategic importance".
The Strategic Concept says that relations between NATO and Russia should be based on "the respect of democratic principles and the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all states in the Euro-Atlantic area."
"Notwithstanding differences on particular issues, we remain convinced that the security of NATO and Russia is intertwined and that a strong and constructive partnership based on mutual confidence, transparency and predictability can best serve our security," the document reads.