Georgia’s “remarkable progress” has to be reflected “appropriately” at the NATO summit in Wales in September, but it is now early to say how exactly it will be reflected, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at Bratislava Global Security Forum on May 15.
Asked from the audience if NATO will offer its Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia at the upcoming summit, Rasmussen responded: “We will definitely address our open door policy at the summit, but it’s a bit too early to say exactly how.”
“My view is that Georgia has made remarkable progress, carried through reforms, conducted exemplary elections, contributed to the NATO operation in Afghanistan, it has done a lot to improve interoperability, so Georgia has made a lot of progress and that progress should be reflected at the Summit appropriately, but exactly how, it is a bit too early to say,” he added.
Lithuanian FM on MAP for Georgia
At a separate panel discussion of the same forum, GLOBSEC 2014, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said that NATO should have offered MAP to Georgia and Ukraine at the Bucharest Summit in April, 2008.
“Sometimes… some colleagues say that if we are doing something it’s provocative… and it instigates counter-reaction and will not be helpful. My point is that by doing nothing we are provoking,” he said.
Asked if NATO should offer MAP now, Linkevičius responded: “If we are talking about Georgia, they have everything they need – all the mechanisms, feedback mechanism, NATO-Georgia Commission, Annual National Program, which is same as MAP; they even have the promise that they will be members of NATO.”
“So my point is that they have all leverages, they just need – which is the most important thing – political decision and that will come, but they should be ready by that time when that comes and I hope they will be ready,” the Lithuanian Foreign Minister said.
At the Bucharest summit in 2008 NATO leaders decided that Georgia will join the NATO sometime in the future, but refused to grant MAP to Georgia. The Bucharest summit decision also says that MAP should be the next step for Georgia on its “direct way to membership”; references to the need of going through MAP phase before joining the alliance are also made in NATO’s subsequent decisions in respect of Georgia. Tbilisi wants to get MAP at the NATO summit in Wales, but there is no consensus about the issue within the alliance.
Russian FM: Current Crisis Started with Bucharest Summit Decision
In an interview with Bloomberg this week, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said when speaking about the crisis in Ukraine that “attempts to draw this country into NATO would be very negative for the entire system of the European security.”
“The current crisis started, the seeds for the current crisis were sown in 2008 in April during NATO Summit in Bucharest, when NATO leaders stated in a declaration that Georgia and Ukraine will be in NATO,” Lavrov said.
“Few months later [then president of Georgia] Mr. Saakashvili, who took it [Bucharest summit decision] very emotionally given his character, he decided that he got the license to invade his own people and to resolve the conflict in South Ossetia by force. He was certainly motivated by this NATO promise. By the way, like now in Ukraine, Saakashvili soon after he did it, started to destroy monuments to the heroes of World War II. The neo-fascist trend is very much visible in the context of invitation to NATO and in the context of policies of those who believe that Ukraine must join NATO,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.