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Georgian Defence Minister says Georgia has the opportunity to become NATO member

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, December 1
“Georgia is not requesting a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP), it is requesting full integration with NATO,” the Georgian Defence Minister, Tina Khidasheli, stated in her interview with the Kronika TV programme on the Imedi Channel.

According to Khidasheli, MAP is not the main goal, and Georgia can become a NATO member without it.

“It’s the main thing for Georgia to step up for full NATO membership. There is a real chance and possibility of this, because Georgia has proved that it is fully compatible with NATO membership,” she said, adding that the document to be released by the Foreign Ministerial on December 1 will be very optimistic and opens a path towards Warsaw.

The Defence Minister also talked about the recent Russia-Turkey tensions, saying that Turkey behaved as any independent country would do after it shot down a Russian plane which had violated Turkish airspace.

“I hope Turkey will not allow any type of serious complications, because nobody wants a new war to be started and nobody wants a complicated relationship with any NATO member country,” Khidasheli stated.

The minister noted that Georgian airspace is not properly protected.

“Georgia’s airspace is more unprotected than of any country,” she said.

Khidasheli mentioned that there are some countries which protect their airspace and follow internationally-adopted rules in this field and there are countries which do not pay attention to the world order and international law standards.

“There are countries which have the capacity to make responsive steps and there are countries that do not do this. For example, we can mention Turkey and the Baltic countries; their airspace is violated to an almost equal extent but most countries fortunately show responsibility towards the situation,” said the Defence Minister.

Despite the positive expectations of Defence Minister Khidasheli, most analysts in Georgia think that NATO still takes into account Russian interests when it comes to considering Georgia’s integration with the alliance.

According analyst Kakha Gogolashvili, NATO sincerely wants Georgia to become a member, but equally it is reluctant to provoke Moscow.

“Strategically, Georgia is in the area of NATO interests and probably it will become a member eventually. However, NATO is waiting for a suitable moment not to further complicate its relationship with Russia,” he stated.

Georgia’s Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli is currently paying an official visit to Germany. She held a meeting with her German counterpart within the framework of the visit.