Georgia believes NATO membership would prevent future war with Russia

Georgian Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili delivers a speech at Georgetown University in Washnigton D.C., 04 Mar 2015 - 12:04, Tbilisi,Georgia

For Georgia, becoming a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) means hundreds of years of conflict with Russia would be ended and both countries can move forward in a positive way, says Georgia’s Parliament Speaker.

David Usupashvili, who is on an official visit to the United States (US), delivered a speech at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and talked about Georgia’s western aspirations.

He said Russia had provoked Georgia for the past 200 years, and "for some unexplained reason”, Russia believed Georgia was its territory.

"We are not interested at all in a devastating war between NATO and Russia on our territory,” he said. "We don’t want to drag NATO states into a war with Russia.”

While talking about the threats posed by Russia, Usupashvili said being a NATO member would be a "prevention mechanism” for Georgia.

"We have learnt lessons from history and we cannot remember a single case of NATO-Russia or NATO-Soviet Union military confrontation. So NATO is a prevention mechanism where NATO member states protect themselves and Russia or the Soviet Union could not attack them.”

"So, when we want to be a NATO member, this means the war in our country is finished and [we don’t want to] restart another war against Russia.”

On Monday, French president Francois Hollande and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg gave a news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris where Hollande expressed opposition to expanding the military alliance.

"France's position is to turn down would-be members. We consider that expanding NATO is not a priority at this time,” he said.

Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said any attempt to bring Georgia into NATO would not contribute to the stability in the South Caucasus and added would take "measures” if NATO tried to "lure” Georgia into the alliance.

NATO-Georgia relations

Georgia is an aspiring NATO member country and is working towards membership. Georgia actively contributes to NATO-led operations and cooperates with allies and other partner countries 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 NATO-Georgia Substantial Package, which included defence capacity building, joint training and exercises, strengthened liaison and enhanced interoperability opportunities. These measures aimed to strengthen Georgia’s defensive capabilities, which will help Georgia advance in its preparation for Alliance membership.