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Reuters: MAP for Georgia unlikely

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, June 24
Based on anonymous NATO diplomats, Reuters reads that NATO is unlikely to grant Georgia MAP. The article released on June 20 says that with NATO-Russia tensions running high after Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region, the question of whether provide Georgia the Membership Action Plan, putting the country closer to its goal of NATO membership, has spawned conflicting views in the alliance.

“Some allies oppose granting Georgia MAP membership, fearing it could provoke Russian retaliation, whereas others say it would look as if NATO was bowing to Russian pressure if it did not. One NATO diplomat said the alliance was split 50-50, and therefore far from required consensus,” the article reads.

The article stresses that NATO appears likely to settle on a compromise by giving Georgia a package of "reinforced cooperation" with NATO that would fall short of MAP. This package could include measures such as closer political cooperation, training the Georgian armed forces and strengthening NATO's liaison office in Georgia.

Georgian officials still remain hopeful over the NATO Wales summit scheduled in September. Defence Minister Irakli Alasania stated that there are hopeful messages that Georgia would be given MAP in Wales but added, “I care less about wordings (and) more about the actions on the ground."

Deputy U.S. Ambassador Bridget Brink stated that NATO will find a way to appreciate Georgia’s successful strive to the alliance. She stressed that the process is ongoing and the final outcome made by the alliance would be based on mutual consensus.

Analyst and Editor-in-Chief of Arsenali journal Irakli Aladashvili told The Messenger that the situation reflected in the article completely coincides with his approaches. The analyst stressed that NATO is afraid of Russia and refrains from taking a brave step.

Aladashvili claims that the reinforced cooperation package to Georgia is just a wording, standing far from being a real assisting mechanism. “It is unclear what strengthening NATO's liaison office in Georgia means…On the other hand training of armed forces is also strange. Thousands of Georgian soldiers have participated in the alliance peacekeeping operations. It is ridiculous. On the one hand the alliance states that we do not meet their standards, and on the other hand is asking and appreciating Georgia’s large-scale presence in its missions,” Aladashvili said. He admitted that the alliance has no presence of its military elements in Eastern Europe. “Even if the alliance wanted some involvement in a situation that occurred in the region or in the Baltic States, it would be impossible for NATO to react on such issues in several days. The alliance would require at least a week to promote assistance from Germany, when Russia can occupy the area in 2-3 days,” Aladashvili claims.

The analyst does not believe that giving the reinforced mechanism to Georgia will irritate Russia.

“It is well-known for Russians that the package means nothing. Thus, they will not be irritated… I do not believe the alliance will change its attitude and achieve overwhelming consensus until the Wales summit,” Aladashvili said.