The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has agreed in principle to offer "a substantive package” to Georgia to help it come closer to NATO but made no mention of membership.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen did not clarify the nature of the package, nor did he mention the possibility of Georgia being offered a Membership Action Plan (MAP), an arrangement seen as a prelude to full membership.
"This is a Summit decision but we have agreed in principle that we will develop a substantive package for Georgia that will help it come closer to NATO. We will work out the elements in the coming weeks,” Rasmussen said at the doorstep prior to the meetings of NATO Foreign Affairs Ministers in Brussels today.
At a working dinner on Tuesday night in Brussels, NATO foreign ministers discussed how to address the Alliance’s open door policy at the September Summit in Wales.
"NATO’s door remains open and no third country has a veto over NATO enlargement. Each country will continue to be judged on its merits. Each one has work to do in different areas. And we will give aspirants the support they need to get them through the door,” Rasmussen said.
He also mentioned that the progress made by the four NATO-aspirant countries - Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia – was also discussed.
"NATO will assess at the latest by the end of 2015 whether to invite Montenegro to join the Alliance,” he added.
In recent years Rasmussen has several times mentioned that NATO was standing behind the decision made at the Bucharest Summit in 2008 that the MAP should be the next step for Georgia on its "direct way to membership”. Georgia did not receive a MAP then but those at the Bucharest Summit pledged that Georgia will join NATO sometime in the future.
NATO’s support to Ukraine and the implications of Russia’s actions, the future of Afghanistan and preparations for the NATO Summit in Wales topped the agenda of the two-day meeting of the Alliance’s 28 foreign ministers, which started on Tuesday.
They will assess measures the Alliance has taken to strengthen collective defence in view of the changed security situation in Europe due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. They will also review relations with Russia.