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NATO ambition not a fixed idea

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, September 30
Later today, Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen will bearriving in Georgia for a two day visit. He will meet top level officials in Georgia and participate in the opening of the NATO Liaison office in Tbilisi and, most probably, Georgians will greet him with the customarily high standard of Georgian hospitality. However it is quite clear to Georgians that there is no chance of receiving NATO membership or extra guarantees for the country’s security. Of course such a reality puts bitter taste into Georgia's relation towards NATO.

Some days ago in his interview to Al-Jazeera, President Saakashvili highlighted that NATO entry is not a fixed idea for Georgians and it has never determined exact terms of entering the alliance.

However nasty journalists immediately reminded him and public that even at the end of 2007 just several days before the presidential elections in the talk show Prime Time with anchor Inga Grigolia, then candidate for second term of presidency – Mikheil Saakashvili, stated that, in the second term of his presidency, if he was elected of course, Georgia would enter NATO, however it would not become an EU member. He also promised to leave the next president with a united Georgia.

The analogous statement was made after the Bucharest summit, in April 2008, when Saakashvili expressed his confidence that Georgia would become a NATO member before his second presidential term expired. In June the same year, during his visit to German Chancellor Angela Merkell, Saakashvili asked Germany for assistance in entering NATO as soon as possible. He was sure and confident before 08/08/08 but things have changed as a result of Russian intervention. Perhaps the leadership did want to make Georgia’s dream come true but Russia's aggression turned everything upside down.

This time Saakashvili admits that the country is amid very complicated geopolitical conditions which will have to be considered. To put it in other words, Georgia should lead a more dynamic and balanced policy to secure its safety guarantees. On one hand it should not further irritate Russia and on the other, maintain good relations with NATO. Georgia’s attitude towards NATO has become more realistic, based not on emotions but on common sense and this attitude is being applied to its relations with Russia as well. We can only regret that this mode of conduct was not exercised by the Georgian leadership before 08/08/08.