After the parliamentary elections Georgia had a chance of getting NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) during Alliance’s foreign ministerial meeting on December 4-5, but Georgia failed to grab this opportunity because of “the events of recent months”, President Saakashvili said on Thursday.
Speaking with Georgian journalists in Warsaw, where he met his Polish counterpart, Saakashvili said that despite of a setback, nothing was yet lost and it was possible to regain momentum in respect of NATO integration “if we slightly revise some things” in internal politics, as well as in international relations; he did not elaborate details.
“We were permanently making progress in respect of NATO [integration]. At Bucharest summit [in April 2008] we failed to get MAP, but we got a direct declaration that Georgia will become a NATO member and it was a real geopolitical breakthrough. Then NATO-Georgia Commission was established [in September, 2008]… Then we received a status of an aspirant state [December, 2011]… Then there was a statement at the NATO Chicago summit [in May, 2012] that at the next summit NATO should expand and that Georgia was one of the major candidates,” Saakashvili said.
In respect of Georgia, NATO summit in Chicago earlier this year reiterated elements of declarations of all the previous summits held since 2008 and repeated that Georgia would one day join the NATO. On the sideline of the Chicago summit, NATO foreign ministers met their counterparts from four aspirant countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina; Montenegro, Macedonia and Georgia. After that meeting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “I believe this summit should be the last summit that is not an enlargement summit.”
“Yesterday [December 5] NATO-Georgia Commission meeting was held in Brussels. After the elections we had a chance of receiving MAP, because at the time discussions were ongoing that because elections were held so well and because we had a consensus between the new [government] and the President about NATO membership, there was a chance of at last getting this MAP by December – I was personally told about it at the very highest level,” Saakashvili said.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a news conference on December 4, that the Alliance “never planned to have discussions on Membership Action Plan or any other steps at the NATO-Georgia Commission”.
Saakashvili also said: “Unfortunately, events of recent months – and I am saying it with great regret – did not allow us [to get MAP].”
“Yesterday’s [NATO-Georgia Commission] meeting was held actually without having new institutional progress [with NATO],” Saakashvili said.
“But I think it is rectifiable; nothing is lost. I think if we slightly revise some things in politics within the country, as well as in our international relations, we will be able to again move forward. That’s in the interest of all the political forces regardless of whether we like each other or not. Not to stop Georgia’s progress is a very important issue for me, because it is a matter of our people’s wellbeing, our country’s existence and security,” he said.
“So here should be no partisan division and I can’t be happy if something goes wrong; on the contrary, that would be negative for everyone. So if there are setbacks, I’ll do my best to help overcome them and to continue moving forward for the sake of Georgia,” Saakashvili added.