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Georgia and NATO

By Messenger Staff
Monday, October 15
The Georgian Dream coalition confirmed once again after the elections were over, that it will continue the country’s move towards NATO integration and with Europe. Before the elections, the Saakashvili administration accused Ivanishvili and his team of being pro- Russian, but since his party's victory, Ivanishvili once again stated the direction of country’s foreign policy. Therefore, the former ruling National Movement was forced to admit this reality and even promised cooperation with the Georgian Dream. With this motive, Secretary of the Security Council, Giga Bokeria, visited Bidzina Ivanishvili on October 12 expressing the National Movement’s willingness to cooperate with the ruling party in this regard. Previous to this move, NATO Secretary General Anders Fog Rasmussen had a telephone conversation with President Saakashvili and PM to be Ivanishvili. After the conversation, Saakashvili looked very cheerful suggesting that these elections marked another milestone of progress in Georgia's steps toward NATO membership. The Georgian Dream coalition meanwhile methodically continues its position regarding NATO.

Tedo Japaridze, the future chairman of the foreign relations committee of the parliament, Maya Panjikidze, the future Foreign Minister, have made statements about NATO and EU integration saying that it is still a priority of Georgia’s foreign policy. Soon-to-be Minister of Defense, Irakli Alasania and other officials confirm that the country will fulfill its commitments taken with regard to the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan and withdraw from this mission only at the end of the mission. This was made despite the death of another Georgian serviceman in Afghanistan last week, bringing the death toll of 18.

It is obvious that the Russian leadership is not happy with Georgia’s declared pro- Western orientation. Moscow repeated once again that it would not allow the import of Georgian agricultural products as of now. More significantly, the Kremlin repeated its refusal to even consider the return to Georgia the occupied territories which now claim to be independent. Russian analysts meanwhile say that it is unlikely that NATO will admit Georgia into the alliance; at best it will modernize, train and equip the Georgian army. President Saakashvili meanwhile highlights and promotes the defeat in the elections as a victory for Georgian democracy, even though his administration committed lots of violations and irregularities during the elections. So of course it was victory of Georgian democracy over the Saakashvili autocratic governance.

As usual, Saakashvili gives unjustified hopes for Georgian population in regards to NATO, knowing in advance that if nothing happens, he will blame this on Georgian Dream coalition policy. Saakashvili is playing tricky game. There are still 10 days before Ivanishvili and his team receives official approval in the parliament and establishes a new government and only then can we say something about the real steps of the new administration.