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Georgia invited to NATO Lisbon Summit

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, October 6
Georgia has received an official invitation to participate in the NATO Lisbon Summit in November; according to a statement made by the President’s press spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, on October 5.

“The visit of the NATO Secretary General to Georgia before the summit was very important for the country. NATO’s messages towards Georgia remain unchanged. The Alliance’s door is open for Georgia and we will become a member of the organisation when we satisfy NATO standards,” Manjgaladze stated.

The Georgian authorities are very optimistic following NATO’s latest statements concerning Georgia and are also hopeful about the summit. “NATO will adopt new strategic convention at the summit. The fact that Anders Fogh Rasmussen visited Georgia before the summit means that the Alliance is interested in Georgia and that the country has a significant position in NATO’s strategic views,” MP, Davit Darchiashvili stated.

Georgian oppositional Labour Party plans to hold a protest in front of the newly opened NATO liaison office in Tbilisi on the opening day of the Lisbon Summit according to a statement made by one of the leaders of the party, Nestan Kirtadze for The Messenger. “This summit will yield no result for Georgia. Mainly international issues will be discussed. On the opening day of the Lisbon summit, the Labour party will protest in front of NATO liaison office, demanding that NATO member countries discuss Georgian soldiers’ participation in the peace missions. 1000 Georgian soldiers have been sent, of whom 750 are serving in Helmand province – one of the most dangerous and difficult areas in Afghanistan. This happens even when most NATO member countries send only units of 100 men. If we are unable to stop sending Georgian soldiers there, it is essential we reduce the number to 100. This is the demand not only of our party; it is the demand of Georgia. I must point out, that the number of soldiers sent to peace missions is voluntary and is up to the President. We will do our best to block such individual and unacceptable decisions of Saakashvili,” Kitradze stated.

Analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili told The Messenger, “Based on the present situation, Georgia has already got as much as it is going to, that is – an invitation to the summit, as Georgia has not fulfilled the main demands of the organisation: fair and impartial courts and a level of democracy close to NATO standards. At the summit we can expect praise for our participation in the peace missions, condolences for our killed soldiers and a promise that Georgia will be a NATO member when it fulfils the Alliance’s standards. However, from year to year the present authority refrains from changes to the legal system. Fooling NATO is difficult and even if the whole of Georgia were to participate in the peacekeeping operations, Georgia will not be able to enter NATO until it meets the Alliance’s demands and standards.”