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Usupashvili says Georgia expects to get MAP

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, January 15
“Georgia expects to get MAP and if it does not happen, certain threats might appear in terms of European integration,” Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili said during his two-day visit to Estonia January 13-15. On the first day of the official visit, Usupashvili met with his Estonian counterpart, Ene Ergma and held a public lecture at the Estonian Eastern Partnership Center. Usupashvili also met with the President, Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Estonia, as well as other officials.

Usupashvili stressed that the Membership Action Plan (MAP) of NATO for many Georgians means much more than it really is, because it has more symbolic connotation for Georgians.

“MAP answers the questions: Does the free world need Georgia or not? Will the free world keep its promise that Georgia will become a NATO member or not?” Georgian Parliament Speaker asked.

At the 2008 Bucharest summit, NATO refused to grant MAP to Georgia. The alliance stated that Georgia should have met the criteria NATO sets.

Usupashvili stated that much has been done in the country for coming close to European standards.Following this progress, Georgia is preparing to sign the association agreement.

“2014 is the right time for the West to help consolidate Georgia’s recent progress by signing the EU Association Agreement and receiving NATO MAP,” Usupashvili stated, noting that in case of failure in the “agenda”, public mood might somehow change towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

“In this case, some political forces might try to persuade people that Georgia would have solved its territorial problems, if we had not had NATO aspirations,” Usupashvili stated and stressed that European support is especially significant currently when Georgia is making its historical steps, and when the country security is under threat.

Usupashvili underscored that the Baltic States are examples for Georgia, as they have strengthened their security through joining NATO and the EU and have gone on to achieved economic prosperity.

“We have a lot to learn and our colleagues are ready to share their experience,” Usupashvili stated.

The Estonian Parliamentary Speaker highlighted that last year's elections in Georgia were a great success. She said the two countries parliaments were cooperative and this friendly relationship would continue into the future.

"2014 is a very important year for Georgia. We are ready to offer appropriate help and support,” she said.

Political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze told The Messenger that the messages include serious hints towards the developed world.

“One hint is related with the events that took place in Ukraine. Thus, Usupashvili says that Europe should pay more attention to Georgia,” Sakvarelidze stressed. The analyst noted that the messages related with NATO were logically connected with the context, and was linked with the Russian threat.

“NATO’s refusal to grant Georgia MAP in 2008 was more due to Russian pressure on the organization rather than not meeting NATO standards. I think that Usupashvili gives a message to the alliance to ignore the Russian pressure,” Sakvarelidze said, adding that without being free from Russian influence, both the alliance and the EU might face serious problems in the region.