NATO Liaison Office Head to Georgia Rosaria Puglisi says that the alliance is not discussing Georgia’s membership with Article No. 5 on collective defence not covering the country’s two Russian-occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali.
She stated during the Georgia Defence and Security Conference earlier today that NATO sees Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions as integral parts of the country and “when we speak about Georgia’s NATO membership, we speak about the whole territory of the country.”
Puglisi said that Georgia is a sovereign country and it is “only up to you to decide” which path to use.
NATO also believes that every country has the right to decide where to integrate itself,” Puglisi said.
She stated that NATO and Georgia “have been cooperating closely and successfully” in the defence and security fields for many years.
Puglisi says that Georgia’s major security challenge is the occupation of its territories by Russia and the creeping occupation, adding that Georgia is doing its best for the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
She says that in the situation NATO helps Georgia to protect its citizens better.
Former Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated early in September that it is time Georgia to start discussions on whether or not to join the alliance with its 5th article on collective defence covering only the Tbilisi-administered territory.
He explained that the initiate did not mean the suspension of the non-recognition policy or the loss of the currently Russian-occupied regions, stating that the article would cover the regions as soon as they are reintegrated.