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Georgia stuck in the threshold of NATO's doors

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, May 2
Theoretically, NATO's doors have been open for Georgia since the 2008 Bucharest Summit. However, the country has not yet been allowed to enter these open doors, despite the fact that Georgia has already paid dearly for its admission. Russian officials have stated clearly numerous times that their aggression against Georgia in 2008 was a direct result of Georgia’s NATO aspirations.

This issue has been discussed repeatedly by Georgian politicians, the media, political analysts and ordinary citizens alike. The topic was once again been discussed during the latest NATO Parliamentary Assembly Rose-Ross 83rd annual seminar.

The same eternal questions are being asked again: to enter or not to enter? When will Georgia be allowed to enter NATO? Will it be granted MAP in the foreseeable future?

Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili even joked about this issue by mentioning that 10 years ago, President Eduard Shevardnadze knocked on NATO's door. In 2008, Mikheil Saakashvili was also told the doors were open.

Frustratingly, this has left Georgia asking the question: Will the country be allowed to enter the doors at all?

Of course haste is not necessary.

However, Georgia remains sitting idly in stand-by mode as it awaits a definitive answer regarding its NATO membership status. Leader of the Georgian Dream coalition, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili hopes that the country will receive MAP in 2014 and serious steps should be taken in this direction.

There are four aspirant countries for NATO membership so far: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Georgia. The first three countries have already received MAP, while Georgia has not yet.

The issue of NATO membership is very important for Georgia, not only in terms of foreign policy, but also domestic. The former majority party United National Movement (UNM) blames the new government, accusing it of deviating from the country's path towards NATO.

There are some voices in the country nowadays that stand against Georgia’s NATO membership. If the one or all of the Balkan states are invited into the club as NATO's newest members, while Georgia remains without even MAP, feelings of frustration will become serious in the country and support for NATO membership within civil society is likely to decrease dramatically.

Georgia is doing its best by increasing its democratic development, the reinforcement of civil society, and is intensively participating in NATO peacekeeping programs. The country is even making serious efforts to regulate relations with Russia.

Concrete progress on this issue is long overdue.