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NATO and Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, November 14
NATO officials have expressed their concern over the latest arrests of high-ranking officials including officers in Georgia. The Georgian lobby in NATO and President Saakashvili eloquently create the impression among NATO officials that the arrests of high-ranking Georgian officials has the flavor of political revenge and spins the news as if the detained people are the victims of political motivated differences. This is not true and it is very unfortunate that Georgian president and his team are disseminating this incorrect information.

All along, the major demand from NATO towards the Georgian leadership has been the establishment of the rule of law, the protection of human rights, the establishment of an independent court system and other aspects of democracy.

PM Ivanishvili has already invited NATO to set up a special ad-hoc commission in Georgia to investigate the cases and arrests of the Georgian officials.

Here in Georgia we have an expression– stealing a camel or niddle is both considered theft. The Prosecutor’s office claims that based on the evidences provided by the victims, former Minister of Defense and Interior Bacho Akhalaia and former Chief of Staff, Giorgi Kalandadze, abused the rights of soldiers through beatings, insults and torture. The court allowed Kalandadze to go free on bail, whereas former minister Akhalaia was detained for pre-trial two months detention.

Saakashvili and the former Georgian leadership keep repeating that this detention might delay the process of Georgia’s entry into NATO. Even in this regard, there are two popular opinions in Georgia.

Optimism was always promoted by the previous leadership, creating false expectations to the general public that Georgia will enter NATO in the near future. This kind of expectation has existed since the April 2008 Bucharest NATO summit. The result of this expectation was Russia’s attack on Georgia leading to multiple casualties and lost territories which are now occupied by Russia. So, even this optimistic approach has been hampered considerably by the irresponsible moves of the Georgian leadership.

As for the pessimistic position, it suggests that Georgia will not become a NATO member in the foreseeable future. There are two reasons for this: one is the charter of NATO which stipulates that no country with territorial problems can become a NATO member and an attack on any NATO country, should be responded by all alliance member countries. The second argument, posits that Georgia has territorial problems and is in a state of war with Russia. So, the only way to enter NATO under these conditions is either NATO has to change its charter which we assume is impossible or Georgia should give up its claims towards disputed territories which is also impossible.