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Medvedev’s statement aims to humble NATO

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, June 6
Russian Prime Minister, Dimitri Medvedev, made a straightforward and arrogant statement warning NATO to stop its further expansion. The Russian PM made this comment during the visit of James Appathurai, NATO's Secretary General Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia. Some Georgian analysts point out that Medvedev's comments set the table for a deeper understanding of the situation– in particular with regard to Georgian-NATO relations. In other words, if NATO once again rejects Georgia's bid to take the next step forward in its pursuit of NATO membership, this very likely could be construed by Georgia as NATO being frightened of Russia. In turn, this will greatly increase Georgia's frustration with the organization altogether.

During his visit to Norway, Medvedev said that Russia would not allow its neighboring countries to enter NATO. Medvedev’s statement was very undiplomatic and put on full display the aggressive nature of Russia's leadership. Although Medvedev was responding to a question about the possible admission of Sweden and Finland to NATO, Georgian analysts point out that this could be applied in Georgia's case too.

Within the Georgian political spectrum, both the parliamentary majority and minority unanimously responded to Medvedev’s statement by emphasizing that Georgia’s major priority remains its integration into the North-Atlantic alliance.

Here we should remember that Georgia’s current leadership, and in particular PM Ivanishvili, is very optimistic about Georgia’s NATO prospects and is confident that at the Vilnius Summit the country will receive the long overdue Membership Action Plan (MAP).

Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in response that countries choose whether they want to integrate with NATO or not, as well as NATO decides itself which country becomes a member. Rasmussen went on to explain that third party countries have no right to interfere in the decision-making process of a sovereign state. “We said at the Bucharest Summit in 2008 that Georgia will become a member of NATO if it follows the standards of the alliance,” Rasmussen stated.

NATO’s policy requires that Georgia achieve more in the direction of democracy and only then will it be qualified to receive MAP. Meanwhile, ordinary Georgian people understand this issue differently. They believe that NATO is “scared” of the aggressive policy of the Russian leaderships and believe that NATO finds various excuses to delay the process of Georgia’s acceptance into the organization. In many people's minds, the conclusion is simple– Georgia will never be accepted into NATO so long as Russia remains dead set against it.

Currently, both parties are facing a dilemma. On the one hand, Georgia has to realize the reality that it has almost no chance to qualify for NATO, whereas, on the other hand, NATO has to continue its donkey and carrot policy.