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Georgian FM Claims NATO Summit Justified Expectations

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, July 16
The Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani claims that the recent summit of NATO met the expectations of the government of Georgia, amid the civil sector’s and the opposition’s criticism that it was one of the worst summits for Georgia’s goals to become the alliance member.

Political experts and the opposition stated during and after the July 11-12 NATO summit in Brussels that Georgia listened what the country has been heard since the 2008 NATO Bucharest summit, that one day Georgia will become the member of NATO.

They said that the NATO declaration adopted during the summit once again stated that Georgia will need a Membership Action Plan (MAP) for the alliance membership.

“The summit was conducted amid serious geopolitical challenges...Despite all the challenges our expectations have been completely met. We have received very clear messages in the NATO declaration over Georgia’s integration process into the alliance,” Zalkaliani said.

Zalkaliani stated that none of the Georgian officials had said earlier that the country would receive MAP at the summit.

Zalkaliani Stated that it was in the first case in the history of NATO-Georgia relations when the declaration of the NATO-Georgia Commission was adopted at the level of heads of state.

“It is a comprehensive document covering both the integration processes and the progress Georgia has made on its path with the alliance,” Zalkaliani said.

He stated that the document reiterated full support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and called on Russia to withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia.

The NATO declaration reads that the alliance members reiterate the decision made at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Georgia will become a member of the alliance, MAP eventually as an integral part of the process.

The NATO-Georgia Commission, which also released a declarationduring the summit, says that the allies intend to assist Georgia in the extension of its air and maritime capabilities.