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Opposition Says Frequent Reshuffle of Gov’t May Hinder Georgia’s NATO Integration

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, July 11
Member of the European Georgia opposition, Giorgi Kandelaki says that recent developments in Georgia, including frequent cabinet reshuffles, can delay the reception of the Membership Action Plan from NATO, which is labeled as a mandatory step before a country becomes the alliance member.

“The government of Georgia changed shortly before the summit and it is very likely that the step will create obstacles for obtaining the Membership Action Plan,” Kandelaki says.

The government of Georgia and the country’s new Prime Minister, Mamuka Bakhtadze have high expectations over the today’s summit.

The NATO chairperson, Jens Stoltenberg announced nothing new for Georgia during his conference before the summit on Tuesday.

He repeated that NATO door remains open for the country.

The Georgian Ambassador to the US, David Bakradze stated in his blog for the Washington Times that the summit is a “pivotal moment” for the alliance.

Bakradze stated that after the United States, Georgia is the largest per capita contributor to the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and that the country already spends more than 2 per cent of GDP on defense, and 20 per cent of that on major equipment.

Bakradze said that in proportion to its population size, Georgia’s commitment in personnel to international missions and the casualties they have suffered exceed all other NATO partners except the United States.

“My country is proud of the contribution we have made to Europe and America’s common defense. Our economic and democratic progress is substantial and sustainable. We hope the US and other NATO partners will remember and honor our sacrifices when they convene this month. Their mission is, after all, our mission too,” Bakradze said.

Allied leaders agreed at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Georgia will become a NATO member, provided it meets all necessary requirements: this decision was reconfirmed at NATO Summits in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.