PM Irakli Garibashvili said there is no need to create “false expectations” about Georgia’s immediate NATO membership and U.S. President Barack Obama’s remarks in this respect were “absolutely adequate” and realistic.
President Obama said on March 26 in Brussels when asked about NATO’s expansion to include Georgia and Ukraine: “I think that neither Ukraine or Georgia are currently on a path to NATO membership and there has not been any immediate plans for expansion of NATO’s membership.”
“We should not be in illusions, we should not have illusions, we should always assess existing situation realistically,” PM Garibashvili said on March 27.
“What President Obama said is absolutely adequate and that’s the reality; NATO expansion is not planned at this stage. Our government’s goal is to provide the public with correct information and not to create false expectations – that was happening under the previous government, when expectations were artificially elevated, which was then followed by frustration; we are offering opposite to that. We want to explain what the reality is and, most importantly, we should be consistent, we should continue reforms, we should continue moving on the path of the EU,” Garibashvili told journalists after he addressed a conference in Tbilisi on economic aspects of Georgia’s EU integration.
“Expectations with respect to NATO should not be false and should not be exaggerated. President Obama said what is now a reality in the world, because many things are being changed in the world and things do not happen so simply in a day,” he said.
Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, said that Georgia is firmly on the NATO path and “no one has said anything against that.”
“We pursued this path with the belief that Georgia will one day become a NATO member,” she added.
State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili said that President Obama’s remarks mainly applied to Ukraine.
“This in no way refers to the issue of whether to grant or not MAP [NATO membership action plan] to Georgia. The North-Atlantic Alliance, all of its 28 members and NATO leadership are convinced and unanimous that Georgia’s contribution to international security and the progress achieved by Georgia in consolidation democracy should be properly reflected in the decisions of NATO. This will definitely be a progress and definitely different from repetition of the NATO Bucharest summit decision – what specifically it will be, it will be decided in coming months by the NATO through consensus and in consultations with Georgia,” Petriashvili said.
At the 2008 Bucharest summit NATO refused to grant MAP to Georgia, which is considered to be a precursor to an eventual membership in the alliance; but at the same summit the NATO leaders instead pledged that Georgia will become NATO member sometime in the future provided that the country meets all the criteria.
After meeting with Georgian PM Garibashvili in Washington on February 26 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated U.S. support to NATO Bucharest summit decision and said: “The United States will work to make sure that Georgia’s progress is acknowledged by all members at this year’s NATO summit.”
During his visit to Washington last month PM Garibashvili said NATO should grant MAP to Georgia at the summit in September as a reward for the progress made by the country.