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Before the NATO summit

By Messenger Staff
Monday, May 21
On the eve of the NATO summit in Chicago, the issue of joining the organization has been intensively speculated about here in Georgia. Of course expectations like those four-years ago before the Bucharest summit are not discussed, but still there are hopes that NATO will confirm once again its close cooperation with Georgia. Georgia's leadership has demonstrated again its commitment to the organization and hopes the gesture is reciprocated.

In the framework of the summit, Georgia will participate in three meetings. The first is the ISAF meeting on Afghanistan, next is a meeting with the 13 partners involved in the alliance's operations, and the third meeting will be with NATO representatives and the foreign ministers of the so-called aspirant counties. Overall, NATO officials have positively assessed Georgia's participation in the peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan. NATO officials have repeated that the doors for Georgia to enter this organization are open.

As it did four-years ago, Georgia once again has confirmed its great desire to join the organization. However, it knows beforehand that it will not be invited into NATO this time around either. Journalists and analysts here in Georgia keep asking the question of whether there still remains the possibility of Russian aggression against Georgia. President Saakashvili thinks that further confirmation of NATO's position with regard to Georgia will act as a serious hindering factor to any future Russian aggression.

The number of NATO members that have lobbied on behalf of Georgia's NATO aspirations has increased. Almost everybody admits that if not for Russia, Georgia would have been accepted in the organization long ago. However, some skeptics within the organization still argue that Georgia is still lacking in some aspects with regard to democratization. Various parties have reported publicly their commitment to Georgia’s NATO aspiration. Some organizations however, such as the Labour party have confirmed their negative attitude towards Georgia’s NATO entry.

It is widely known that Georgia is a very hospitable country; when Georgians invite you in, they really mean it. And when they say the doors are open they really welcome you, Georgians do not keep invitees behind open doors because that is humiliating...