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New MAP hopes for Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Monday, June 2
NATO enlargement policy was discussed at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Vilnius on May 30. The assembly recommended that Georgia be granted NATO’s membership Action Plan (MAP) this year. This is a very important decision that is being hailed by Georgian leaders. However, this is not a guarantee that this decision will be made at the Wales Summit.

It is well-known that Russia is obsessed with the idea that NATO enlargement threatens its security. However, MAP does not ensure that NATO member countries will come to the aid of a country in the case of war. Georgia might be granted MAP, but there is still a good possibility that Russia will do its utmost to keep Georgia from joining NATO in the long run, as MAP does not entail any concrete security guarantees for Georgia.

Paragraph 8 of the recently adopted declaration by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly stipulates that the NATO Parliamentary Assembly encourages NATO member countries to grant MAP to Georgia as a fulfillment of the 2008 NATO Bucharest Summit decision.

NATO Secretary General Rasmussen said in a cautious manner that he personally supports the idea of Georgia receiving MAP. In particular, he mentioned that if Georgia received MAP status, it would further facilitate NATO’s potential. Georgian officials welcomed this declaration.

Georgian analysts also highlight that a NATO decision would be made anonymously, and that is not an easy job, as some NATO countries have expressed their skepticism towards such a step.

How much the recommendation is taken into consideration will be determined by what comes out of the Wales Summit.

Georgia has made its choice. It actively pursues the EU and NATO integration course. Such a step communicates to Russia that Georgia will not look North in any manner. The next important step in the direction is signing the EU Association Agreement.

Russia has already responded to the Vilnius declaration. It is difficult to guess what steps Russia might take. One thing is for sure however: Moscow will not sit silently, and challenging measures to block Georgia’s Western ambitions will be taken. Russia will be putting pressure on Georgia and the West. NATO should be ready to protect Georgia.