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New stage in Georgian-NATO relations

By Messenger Staff
Friday, November 21
Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili claims that a new stage of relations has been launched in Georgian-NATO cooperation. The PM summarized his visits to Brussels and stressed that the meetings with leading EU and NATO leaders were extremely fruitful. It is obvious that this new stage of Georgian-NATO relations will not be in the interests of Russia.

After his meetings in Brussels Gharibashvili stated that NATO has a very positive and optimistic approach to Georgia, and there will be a clear plan for implementing the substantive package NATO offered Georgia at the end of February.

The PM’s statements and clear European messages were strongly criticized by non-opposition party leader Nino Burjanadze, who stressed that the rhetoric will definitely spoil relations with Russia.

Burjanadze believes that Georgia should continue its path to Europe but should give up its NATO intentions. Burjanadze also claims that the treaty Russia is trying to sign with de-facto Abkhazia is because of Georgia’s persistent statements over its goal for NATO membership.

“Georgia should make its choice between the illusion of becoming a NATO member state and Georgia’s territorial integrity,” Burjanadze said.

Some analysts believe that when Georgia-NATO talks become more active, Russia will respond by signing a treaty with South Ossetia, which will signify the clear annexation of the region. There are speculations as well that Russia might hold back from signing such integration treaties with the de-facto regions if Georgia cancels plans to open a NATO training centre on its territory.

However, Russia is more focused on aggressive policy and it is less likely to “trade” with Georgia over the issue. The de-facto leadership of South Ossetia has already stated that they are concerned with Georgia-NATO relations. They claim that the alliance creates a threat for the whole region’s security.

There is also the concern that Russia will attempt to further activate pro-Russian forces within Georgia.