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Not knocking on heaven’s door

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, June 30
“NATO is not a paradise, but anyway, we want to be there,” said Davit Usupashvili, Chairman of the Georgian Parliament, on June 27 at the Batumi Security Conference which was attended by high ranking Georgian officials, ambassadors, foreign guests, and local and foreign analysts in the security field.

It has been stated by NATO leaders recently that Georgia might get a reinforced collaboration package from the Alliance instead of the much wished for Membership Action Plan (MAP). NATO official James Appathurai underscored that even Georgian government members consider Georgia as not ready for Alliance membership.

Usupashvili said that he wanted to make a speech at the conference. However, owing to the signing of the association agreement (AA) with the EU changed his agenda. The Speaker stressed that the title of his speech would have been “Knocking on NATO’s Door”.

“We know that this door might not lead us to paradise. However, it is essential for our security,” Usupashvili said.

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili stated that Georgia has improved much in terms of defense and security since 2008. He stated that by 2017 there will be an all professional military service in Georgia. Gharibashvili emphasized that Georgia will keep their soldiers in Afghanistan until the ISAF mission is over.

Georgia’s Defense Minister confirms that it will require years for Georgia to meet all the NATO demands. “However, the Ukrainian situation revealed that talk concerning Georgia’s integration with NATO should begin now,” Alasania stated. The Minister stressed that Georgia is going to intensify negotiations with France, Germany, Great Britain and the United States regarding NATO. However, Georgia does not intend to send “wrong messages” to Russia as well.

Commenting on the issue, Georgia’s ex-President, Mikheil Saakashvili, stated that Georgia is more ready for Alliance membership than some other new members of the Alliance are. “They are going to give us a lollipop instead of inviting us to the table,” Saakashvili stated. Saakashvili added that despite the artificial delay to NATO, Georgia should strive to join the Euro-Atlantic space.

U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland ensures that the international community is ready to recognize Georgia’s achieved progress at the NATO summit in Wales. However, the ambassador was unable to provide information concerning the manner of their appreciation.

Lincoln Mitchel, an American expert on politics and business in post-Soviet states, states that Georgia’s MAP fate remains unclear. “However, if Georgia is rejected on the MAP again it will be a signal to the country to enforce its strive for the organization. The analyst believes that Russia will create significant threats on the way.