Saakashvili speaks of NATO Chicago summit during televised remarks from New York, May 16.
Despite efforts of Georgia’s “ill-wishers”, NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21 will acknowledge Georgia’s progress on its path of integration to the Alliance, which is “as important for us as never before,” President Saakashvili said on May 16.
In a televised address, recorded in New York, Saakashvili drew parallels with 2008 NATO Bucharest summit, when Georgia was denied to Membership Action Plan (MAP) but granted a pledge that it would one day join the Alliance. Saakashvili hinted, that “hesitation” shown by NATO in 2008 encouraged Russia to invade Georgia in August, 2008.
“This summit [in Chicago] is very important for us,” Saakashvili said. “This is not an enlargement summit, but this is the summit that should acknowledge Georgia’s progress in respect of NATO integration.”
“The situation is very important for us this year, because if we draw some parallels, formally, superficially it very much looks like the year of 2008; like this year, there was a NATO summit and elections in the United States, Russia, Georgia [in 2008] and we all know well how 2008 ended after NATO to some extent showed hesitation. Therefore, acknowledgment of Georgia’s NATO progress this year is as important for us as never before,” he said.
“Today, it triggers a huge resistance, on the one hand, from the country, which is occupying Georgian territories and on the other, from the Russian-financed political forces in Georgia who are running to Brussels and various capitals and are doing their best [to convince] NATO against acknowledging Georgia’s progress and instead to state that situation has worsened in Georgia.”
“The NATO Secretary General has confirmed several days ago what all NATO members are saying quite convincingly recently that Georgia has achieved a very important progress in the issues of integration [with NATO].”
“Naturally, many cynics will ask a question: ‘is not it like a horizon – moving far away as you get closer to it?’ We should take one thing into consideration: of course we will need a huge patience before we become a full-fledged NATO member,” Saakashvili said.
“But this process of NATO integration itself is already a very serious deterrent factor of any aggressive plans against us and, undoubtedly, it represents a security factor for Georgia already today,” he added.
Saakashvili stressed that Georgia would participate in three meetings during the NATO Chicago summit: ISAF meeting on Afghanistan; a gathering of 13 NATO partners across the globe that contribute to NATO operations and an aspirant-countries meeting at the level of foreign ministers.
“We have never participated in so many formats before [at the NATO summit],” Saakashvili said.
He also said that the Chicago summit’s communiqué would definitely acknowledge Georgia’s progress on its path to NATO integration.
“That is something what our ill-wishers do not want even to hear,” Saakashvili said.
He said that this progress was thanks to Georgia’s internal reforms, “as well as to our guys, who are currently fighting in Afghanistan on the very important front for Georgia.”
“With this struggle [in Afghanistan, the Georgian troops there] are providing security to Georgia and deterring everyone from repeating this year or in future the scenario of 2008,” Saakashvili said.