Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Secretary General of NATO, says that not granting the Membership Action Plan to Georgia in 2008 “was a mistake.”
At the insistence of Germany and France, we decided to postpone that decision until the end of the year. In my view, that was a mistake. Just months after our summit, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the invasion of Georgia, and Russia has occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia ever since,” he said in his letter dedicated to the 70th anniversary of NATO.
He said that NATO member states “should move beyond offering warm words” about the democratic will of the Georgian and Ukrainian people, and acknowledge the disruptive role that “Kremlin paranoia is playing” in the accession process.
The Kremlin’s aim is to hold these countries back until their progress towards reform starts to slip. We would be neglecting our duty if we allowed that to happen”, he said.
He said that expanding NATO to include Ukraine and, eventually, Georgia, was never going to be an easy decision to make.
But it is a decision that should lie with current and aspiring member states, not with Russia. The longer we allow Putin’s interference to bear fruit, the more he will seek to undermine the sovereignty of democratic states,” Rasmussen said.
Read the full letter here.