NATO-Georgia Commission Not to Determine Georgia’s Joining NATO

NATO-Georgia Commission Not to Determine   Georgia’s Joining NATO

Azerbaijan, Baku, 15 September / Trend corr E.Tariverdiyeva/ The conflict with Russia may accelerate Georgia's entering the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). But the decision is unlikely to be taken at the next meeting of NATO-Georgia commission.

Meeting of the NATO-Georgia commission is scheduled for 15-16 September. NATO Council members and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer will arrive in Georgia on 15 September.

Observers are not sure a decision will be made at the meeting, but the relations between Georgia and NATO will be seriously considered.

Georgian political scientist Irakli Menagarishvili believes the meeting will commence a new stage of NATO-Georgia relations. The decision to establish NATO-Georgia commission, which was taken at NATO emergency summit, will be discussed.

NATO Foreign Ministers supported Tbilisi at the NATO emergency meeting, which was conducted in Brussels at the end of August due to the Georgia-Russia conflict. The final statement of the meeting envisaged NATO's support to the territorial integrity of Georgia and urged to withdraw Russian troops from Georgian territory as soon as possible. The meeting announced establishment of a commission on cooperation between NATO and Georgia.

The meeting to take place at the beginning of the week will probably consider practical issues of NATO-Georgia commission's operation, but it is unlikely to take a decision on Georgia's soon entering the organization.

"The commission is expected to commence practical work right after the meeting," said Menagarishvili.

There is not any united policy line towards Georgia at NATO and this fact arouses uncertainty in NATO's relations with Georgia.

NATO has different tendencies on heterogeneity of position of the bloc on Georgia and opportunity of its manifestation at a meeting of the NATO-Georgia commission in Tbilisi, Alexander Rahr, director of the Russia/Eurasia Program at the German Council on Foreign Relations, told Trend .

According to Rahr, NATO new-members, including Baltic countries, are likely to seek more strict position towards opposition inside NATO, because of their historical fears.

At the same time, the NATO countries, including Germany, France, Italy and Spain, which would not like to give up the partnership, good economic and trust relations with Russia established in 1990s and have been intensively developing by 8 August 2008, pursue softer position on this matter, Rahr said.

Thereof, it is difficult to predict the Alliance's decision on Georgia and whether it will take any, Rahr said.

However a Russian expert is sure that Georgia will use the conflict with Russia to accelerate its joining NATO.

"I think that leadership of Georgia has got extra arguments to accelerate NATO joining process and to get understanding by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,", Aleksey Vlasov, the General Director of the Russian information and analytic centre for study of social and political processes in the post-Soviet region, said, RIA Novosti reported.

Moscow-based R.Agayev and Tbilisi-based N.Kirtskhalia contributed to the article.

The correspondent can be contacted at [email protected]

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