Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, met NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in Brussels on June 24.
The meeting came just before NATO foreign ministers started two-day talks on Tuesday evening agenda of which also includes discussions on how to address Alliance’s open door policy at the NATO summit in Wales in September.
During the meeting the NATO foreign ministers will also review assessment reports on progress made by four aspirant countries – Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia.
“Report on Georgia pays tribute to the positive achievements of past years,” NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said in series of tweets after meeting with the Georgian Foreign Minister.
“NATO stands ready to support [and] assist Georgia in their ambitious defence reforms,” he wrote on his Twitter.
“Georgia’s free, fair and inclusive elections were another step forward in a maturing democracy,” he wrote and also welcomed Georgia’s commitment to contribute to post-2014 mission in Afghanistan.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after meeting with Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili in Berlin on June 2 that she does not think Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Georgia will be on the agenda of the NATO summit in Wales. She also said that there are options other than MAP through which Georgia’s progress can be acknowledged in summit decisions.
Reuters reported on June 20 citing unnamed NATO diplomat that around a dozen of NATO's 28 members, Germany and France among them, were reluctant to invite Georgia into MAP; the same source predicted that the Alliance would be unable to reach the required consensus.
“I have once against reiterated at today’s meeting with the Secretary General… that Georgia’s ambition is to become a NATO member and to take steps on this path of integration,” Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said after meeting with Rasmussen in NATO headquarters on June 24.
“I stressed that we have an expectation that our progress will be adequately reflected [in NATO decisions] and we also have the right to have such an expectation,” she added.
On June 25 she will participate in a meeting of foreign ministers of NATO and ISAF contributing nations.
At the Bucharest summit NATO leaders refused to offer MAP to Georgia, but pledged that Georgia will join the NATO sometime in the future. The Bucharest summit decision, however, 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.