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We remain open for our partners, NATO promises

By Messenger Staff
Friday, December 4
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) claims it remains committed to its open-door policy and encourages its partners to continue to implement the necessary reforms to prepare for membership in the Alliance, various NATO foreign ministers stated today in Brussels, Belgium, within the NATO December 1-2 Ministerial.

As proof, the organisation extended its invitation to Montenegro to start accession talks to become the 29th member of the Alliance, which the country has strived for this since 2009.

“At the 2008 Bucharest Summit we agreed that Georgia will become a member of NATO with a Membership Action Plan (MAP) as an integral part of the process; today we reaffirm all elements of that decision, as well as subsequent decisions,” the foreign ministers’ statement read.

Following the lead, the ministers stressed they encouraged Georgia to continue making full use of all the opportunities for coming closer to the Alliance offered by the NATO-Georgia Commission, the Annual National Programme, its role as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner, its participation in the NATO Defence Capacity Building Initiative and the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package.

On this note, NATO officials praised Georgia for its democratic reforms and commitment to NATO peacekeeping missions, and promised to support the country in strengthening its capabilities and advance itself as a NATO member country.

“As we prepare for the Warsaw summit, we will explore new, practical ways to intensify efforts including through high-level political dialogue and increased co-operation, including in defence and strategic communications,” the NATO foreign ministers emphasised.

The organisation once again reiterated its support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and condemned Russia’s occupation of Georgia’s de-facto regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).

It should be mentioned that prior to the Ministerial, Georgia’s Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli stated NATO’s offer to Montenegro would also serve as a hint to Georgia, a signal whether the Alliance was ready to enlarge or not.

After the Ministerial the Georgian officials and the country’s Foreign Ministry stressed they were happy with the declaration as it recognized Georgia’s progress and the fact that Georgia had fulfilled its obligations. The state Ministers hinted or openly stated that now giving the MAP to Georgia or the country’s NATO membership would be only the Alliance’s political decision.

A day before the Ministerial, Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated that the Government would calmly await the results of next year's Warsaw Summit. He also asked people not to create false expectations over the occasion.

The fact that NATO kept its open door policy is welcoming and it might be a hope for Georgia that the Alliance will also make the same decision for Georgia as it has done for Montenegro.

However, Montenegro is one of the smallest nations in Europe and is rarely at war; accepting such a country will cause few problems for the Alliance, while Georgia is burdened with many political issues, many of which concern one of the most dangerous and powerful countries in the world.