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US expert states Georgia does not need MAP to join NATO

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, August 19

US political analyst, Duke Coffey published an article on the web-site of the Heritage Foundation, saying that the USA should declare publicly that Georgia does not need MAP to join NATO.

The title of the article is 'A Perfect Opportunity to Advance the U.S.–Georgian Defence Relationship' and it says that the visit of Georgian Defence Minister, Tina Khidasheli in Pentagon on August 17 would strengthen the ties between two countries.

“U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will meet with his Georgian counterpart, Tinatin Khidasheli (the first female defence minister in Georgia’s history), this will be Khidasheli’s first meeting at the Pentagon in her new role. Georgia has been a steadfast ally of the United States, and Khidasheli has been a leading voice inside Georgia for closer ties with the U.S. and NATO.

Coffey notes that thousands of Georgian troops have served alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, and dozens have been wounded; in Afghanistan alone, 30 Georgian soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice.

According to the author, few countries in the Euro-Atlantic region express as much enthusiasm for NATO as Georgia. However, it is not yet a member of the Alliance.

“The NATO–Georgian relationship has never been closer. During the last NATO summit, the Alliance endorsed the NATO–Georgia Package that will strengthen Georgia’s defence and interoperability capabilities with the Alliance,” the article reads.

Coffey also touches on the Georgian-Russian relationship in his article saying that Russia views the South Caucasus as being in its natural sphere of influence and which led it to occupying 20 percent of Georgia's territory after the 2008 Georgia-Russia war.

The analyst writes that during the two most recent NATO summits (2012 in Chicago and 2014 in Cardiff), Georgia had hoped to receive a Membership Action Plan (MAP) but did not, even though Georgia has been able to implement serious defense reforms and continues to participate in security operations at a rate much higher than many NATO members.

“Georgia does not need MAP to someday join the Alliance, Russia uses the repeated failure of Georgia to receive a MAP from NATO as a propaganda victory.

The U.S. must publicly state that a Membership Action Plan is not required to join the Alliance,” says Coffey.