Georgia is patient on path to NATO

Obama: "There has not been any immediate plans for expansion of NATO’s membership." Photo: European Council press office, 27 Mar 2014 - 13:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia is looking forward with hope to the NATO Summit scheduled in September despite remarks by US President Barack Obama stating there were no immediate plans to include Georgia and Ukraine in NATO.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said there was nothing surprising in Obama’s statement.

"[What Obama said] was absolutely adequate. The reality is that no NATO enlargement is planned at this stage,” Garibahsvili said, adding his people should not be given false expectations.

At a press conference in Brussels yesterday, President Obama was asked whether NATO was going to expand to include Georgia and Ukraine. In response, he said no immediate plans existed for these countries.

"Neither Ukraine or Georgia are currently on a path to NATO membership,” Obama said.

Georgia’s State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili believed there was nothing to be disappointed about in Obama’s remarks and said he was sure the upcoming NATO Summit would be positive for Georgia.

"It will definitely be different from the Bucharest Summit decision and what [happens] will be decided by NATO in the nearest months based on consultations with Georgia,” Petriashvili said.

"What is most important is that we have always been saying and we are still repeating it with whole responsibility that NATO and its 28 member countries are unanimous in the belief that Georgia’s contribution to international security missions and Georgia’s progress in democracy consolidation should be properly reflected on the organisation’s decision.”

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze claimed no one had ever said Georgia would be given a NATO membership at this Summit. She believed the country was firmly on the right path to becoming closer to the North Atlantic Alliance but this did not guarantee an immediate membership.

"At this Summit, the progress Georgia has achieved during the past two years will be reflected. So we are on this path and no one has say anything opposing this. We are following this path with the belief that one day Georgia will become a NATO member, but no one should be surprised if this does not happens at this Summit,” Panjikidze said.

Obama claimed yesterday that "there has not been any immediate plans for expansion of NATO’s membership.”

"I know that Russia has at least, on background, has suggested one of the reasons they’ve been concerned about Ukraine was potential NATO membership. On the other hand, part of the reason that the Ukraine has not formally applied for NATO membership is because of its complex relationship with Russia. I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon, obviously.”

Obama said the organisation had a commitment that included a military pledge to its members.

"For non-members, we want to support those countries based on our belief in principles and ideals that are important not just in Europe but around the world, including territorial integrity and sovereignty,” the US President claimed.