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MAP – crucial for Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, January 16
During his visit to Estonia on January 13, Georgian Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Usupashvili, stated that receiving NATO’s Membership Action Plan (MAP) is crucial for the country.

Usupashvili mentioned that if NATO refuses to grant MAP to Georgia at its September 2014 NATO summit held in Wales, it will very much influence the political stability of the country. It would be difficult for the country’s leadership to convince the population that any other decision than receiving MAP could be considered a success for Georgia.

Inside Georgia, MAP has a symbolic importance. If the country does not receive MAP it will have catastrophic results for the pro-Western forces in the country. A big portion of the population will likely make assumption that Georgia’s push towards the West has no real future.

If Georgia is once again refused MAP like it was at the Bucharest Summit in April of 2008, this will definitely provide a huge advantage to the anti-Western political groups in Georgia.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, the Membership Action Plan has become a magic phrase for Georgians. In fact, this phrase has become the symbol of the answer of ordinary Georgians to the question: does the free democratic world need Georgia? How deeply is the free democratic world committed to its promise that Georgia will become a NATO member. The message of the Georgian Parliamentary Chairman was direct and straightforward.

During the NATO Bucharest summit in 2008, Georgia was denied MAP. However, a promise had been made that the country will definitely become a NATO member if it satisfies all the necessary criteria. Usupashvili stated that currently the Georgian Dream administration and the opposition United National Movement (UNM) support the country’s Western orientation.

Therefore, 2014 is the right time for the West to use the momentum and fulfill its long awaited promise. On the one hand, this move should be reinforced by the signing of the European Union Association Agreement document before September 2014. And MAP will become the real acknowledgement of Georgia’s genuine aspiration for becoming a member of the Western community.

Georgians still remember well that the country’s previous administration tried to sweeten a bitter pill by saying that Georgia was receiving something better than MAP. If fact, this phrase became the matter of irony inside and outside Georgia. Although, the analysts and politicians challenged such an approach. Moreover, many Georgian analysts suggest that NATO’s decision in 2008 opened the doors for Russian aggression against Georgia.

In his historical appearance Usupashvili stated that there are three possible options in front of Georgia: the first is to take arms and fight against the occupying country, which Georgia does not want at all. The second is to become part of Europe step-by-step… And the third option is to return to the modernized Soviet Union or the Russian Empire.

“Georgia is waiting for the results (MAP), and if this result is not achieved, certain threats may appear in the direction of Euro integration as well,” Usupashvili stated in Estonia.

In April 2013, former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili stated loudly that Georgia was hoping to have MAP during the 2014 NATO summit. After the Bucharest summit, a NATO-Georgia commission was created and an Annual National Program was established for Georgia.

Georgia fulfils all its commitments either by participating in the NATO peacekeeping missions or achieving democratic progress in the country. It has conducted free democratic elections acknowledge by both domestic and foreign organizations; and it ensured the peaceful transition of power in 2012. In fact, Georgia is the only country together with Moldova, which took its way towards the Eastern Partnership direction.

Georgia has also repeatedly confirmed its commitment to become a NATO member. Of course Georgia realizes that it is a great challenge for Russia, but the West should also answer this challenge by taking the right and timely decision.

All these have been clearly and openly stated during the Georgian Parliamentary Chairman’s visit to Estonia. Estonians coming from their historical experience understand Georgian problems and have sympathy towards Georgia. The bigger question is how deep Georgia’s Western allies understand Georgia’s problems.