Admission of Georgia and Ukraine to NATO Looks Like Building an Annexe on House that is on Fire: Expert

Azerbaijan, Baku, 19 March / corr. Trend A. Gasimova/ All in all I would say that prospects of eventual membership of Georgia and Ukraine to NATO are good - although the accession process will almost certainly take longer than those of the new members Albania, Macedonia and Croatia, the Norwegian researcher Asle Toje said.

"Therefore the talk of taking in Georgia and the Ukraine looks to me like building an annexe on a house that is on fire," Asle Toje, Senior FellowNorwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS) said to Trend on 19 March.

The Ukraine appealed NATO secretary general on 19 January which says that Ukraine hopes that it will join the Action Plan regarding the membership NATO membership during the Bucharest summit. Georgia made the same appeals during the course of last weak.

"The Bucharest summit will address a number of difficult issues from new memberships to a new strategic concept, the missile shield, the NATO Response Force and the NATO mission in Afghanistan," the expert said.

Therefore, no final decision will be made on this issue in Bucharest. NATO foreign ministers at their meeting in Brussels on March 6, decided not to put Georgia and Ukraine on the Membership Action Plan (MAP) for the time being, Toje said.

According to Toje, key NATO allies found that they simply did not want to add this to the list of issues where Russia and the West are in disagreement. "The US is the main security provider in the alliance: Therefore the opinion of Washington is a decisive factor. American commitment is illustrated by President Bush's visit to Kiev just before the Bucharest Summit," the expert said.

At the top of the list of issues that could work against the applicants, one is the internal divisions in the Ukraine and the territorial disputes of Georgia in South Ossetia and Abkhazia as well as the turbulent internal political situation in that country, the expert said.

The next summit of NATO will be held on 1 April in Bucharest and the membership of Georgia and Ukraineis expected to be discussed in the summit.

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