Lavrov: Russia will respond to attempts to “lure” Georgia into NATO

Lavrov said attempts to bring Georgia into NATO would not contribute to the stability in the South Caucasus., 18 Feb 2015 - 17:32, Tbilisi,Georgia

Russia will take "measures” if NATO tries to "lure” Georgia into the alliance, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says.

The Russian diplomat believed any attempt to bring Georgia into NATO would not contribute to the stability in the South Caucasus and said Russia was ready to respond to any attempt to make Georgia a NATO member.

Today in Moscow Lavrov spoke at a press conference with the de facto foreign minister of Tskhinvali region’s (South Ossetia) separatist government and said they had discussed "the non-stop process to drag Georgia into NATO”.

"Naturally, if these measures start to take practical shape – evidently, this process has already begun – we will take measures to prevent negative effects of these developments,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov and David Sanakoev, of Georgia’s breakaway region Tskhinvali, stressed the need to adopt legally binding agreements to secure stability in the South Caucasus to avoid repetition of the 2008 armed conflict between Russia and Georgia.

However, yesterday former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Russia wanted to dominate Eastern Europe.

Rasmussen said the crisis in eastern Ukraine was part of Russia's plan to reclaim dominance over Eastern Europe.

"It's part of a bigger master plan, to restore a Russian influence in the near, the neighborhood covering the former Soviet space and therefore the Russians want to keep their neighbours weak and dependent on Russia and prevent them from seeking Euro-Atlantic integration in the European Union and NATO. That's why we see these conflicts not only with the Ukraine but also with Moldova and Georgia,” he said.

Rasmussen also said if Russia attacked a NATO ally, the Alliance would have to invoke Article 5 of the organisation's treaty, which calls for collective security.

Georgia is an aspiring NATO member and working towards membership. Georgia actively contributes to NATO-led operations and cooperates with Allies and other partner countries in in a variety of areas.

At the NATO Bucharest Summit in April 2008, Allied Heads of State and Governments agreed Georgia would become a NATO member. This decision was subsequently reconfirmed at successive NATO Summits in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014.

At the 2014 Wales Summit, Allied Heads of State and Governments endorsed the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package. The Package includes defence capacity building, training, exercises, strengthened liaison, and enhanced interoperability opportunities. These measures aim to strengthen Georgia’s defence capabilities, which will help Georgia advance in its preparation for Alliance membership.