President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who led the Georgian delegation at the NATO summit in Wales on September 4-5, said he’s “satisfied” with the decisions taken by the alliance in respect of Georgia and said that the package extended to Georgia is “full of substance.”
“NATO has acknowledged its enhanced, intensified cooperation with Georgia. We have moved to the group of countries, which are qualitatively on higher level – Finland, Sweden, Australia, Jordan – the partners, whose defense systems are closer to NATO. Naturally this achievement is thanks to those 11,000 Georgian solders [who have served in international missions abroad],” Margvelashvili said in an interview with the Georgian Public Broadcaster on September 5.
“Second important goal that we had was making one more firm step on the path towards NATO membership. Georgia today has cooperation mechanisms through deepening of which Georgia will actually achieve NATO standards and it has been unequivocally recognized and adopted by our partners,” he said.
“Third important goal was not just to make a step towards membership, but getting more security, more stability in our region even before joining the Alliance. This goal has also been achieved through this package; this is whole set of measures, involving more NATO activities in Georgia and more Georgian activities in NATO,” the Georgian President said.
“Of course we are satisfied with these achievements,” Margvelashvili said.
He also said that mechanisms, which Georgia already has with NATO, in substance are equivalent to membership action plan (MAP) – something that NATO has again refused to extend to Georgia.
“But I do not want to mislead the public and to say that it means we will no longer need MAP. We may not need MAP, but today we cannot say that MAP will never be needed,” the President said. “Formally this requirement [of going through MAP stage] still remains, it may not be the case in the future, but now it still is.”
Asked about possible supply of self-defense capabilities to Georgia, the President responded: “This is an issue over which a broad framework is being opened today for Georgia. It allows us to launch very intensive dialogue with [NATO] member states to fill the package [extended by NATO to Georgia]. It means that 28 member states recognize that such package exists and now we have to carry out dialogue individually with each of the member state in order to make this package even more packed.”
Asked if such talks are already underway, Margvelashvili responded: “Comprehensive dialogue is underway with our French, Turkish, U.S., Baltic and Eastern European colleagues.”
Asked if Georgia would be ready for NATO membership by the time of next summit, which will be held in Poland in 2016, Margvelashvili responded: “We will have very important steps taken in regard of NATO standards by the next summit.”
“Today’s progress [in respect of NATO] is thanks to our soldiers and our armed forces, and it is also a result of our progress in development of our democratic institutions. Further steps towards NATO should be made not only on the direction of defense system, but also towards further democratic development – these are those two tracks, which will lead us to eventual NATO membership,” Margvelashvili said.