Tuesday, September 16, 2008

NATO Set Georgia Conditions

Photo: Reuters
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at Tbilisi State University, September 16, 2008

The members of NATO are unanimous in making Georgia a candidate for membership. Tbilisi will have to meet a number of conditions first, however, NATO General Secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told students at Tbilisi State University. He told the students that the alliance member states were certain that Georgia would gain NATO membership, but he stipulated that Georgia needs to carry out democratic reforms first and work with international institutions to resolve conflicts and thus increase the country’s security.
De Hoop Scheffer emphasized that a full consensus was necessary among NATO member states before the decision could be made on Georgia’s membership. The issue will be further discussed at the December summit of NATO foreign affairs chiefs, he said. He said that Georgia has undergone a serious shock and has not emerged from it yet, but reform must continue regardless. He promised NATO’s continuing assistance to the Georgian people.The United States has been in favor of providing Georgia with a membership action plan for several months. That plan is the practical equivalent to membership candidacy. Germany, Italy and France have expressed skepticism about Georgian membership. The Europeans say that, if a new conflict arises between Georgia and Russia, they will be drawn into it on the Georgian side, which would not be in the interests of the European Union. (Kommersant)


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