Granting MAP to Georgia, Ukraine is a Matter of Time
Azerbaijan, Baku, November 28/ Trend Ne corr. E.Tariverdiyeva /The delay on granting of the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia and Ukraine is not the final decision on non-admission of these countries to the Alliance, experts say.
"The United States in any case did not refuse to grant MAP to Georgia and Ukraine. U.S. understands that the granting of MAP to Tbilisi and Kiev will hardly be supported by Europe, the Russian political scientist Vyacheslav Nikonov said.
For the first time, the statements by Georgia and Ukraine to receive MAP in the Alliance were declined at the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008. At that time, sides agreed that both countries will become members of the Alliance in future.
The U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated on November 26 that Washington would not lobby at the meeting of foreign ministers of alliance to be held in Brussels at early December to grant MAP to Ukraine and Georgia.
Kiev's and Tbilisi's readiness to receive the NATO membership status will be assessed at the meeting of foreign ministers of NATO 26 member states in Brussels on December 23.
Several European powers and especially Germany opposes enlargement of the bloc through Ukraine and Georgia for fear of violation of stability in the region.
Those who oppose the joining of Georgia and Ukraine to the Alliance, apart from the situation in the South Ossetia and Abkhazia, doubt that democratic norms are observed in Georgia, as well as political instability and negative public perception of prospects of joining the NATO by the Ukrainians.
It is early for Ukraine and Georgia to join the NATO Membership Action Plan, stated foreign minister of the Netherlands Maxim Verhgen at the debates in the Parliament, RIA Novosti reported.
According to experts, the U.S. decline to support granting of MAP does not reduce the chances of Georgia and Ukraine for the NATO membership in future.
There is still a chance for Georgia not only to receive MAP, but also to be admitted to NATO in future, Russian political expert Giorgi Trofimchuk said. "This is not linked at all with the format of government and not persons heading governments in these countries," Trofimchuk, vice president of the Center for Modeling of Strategic Development, said to Trend .
New US President Barack Obama will continue insisting on granting Ukraine NATO MAP, but he will not put a pressure on European countries for this, said Alexander Potekhin, former adviser to the envoy of the Ukrainian Embassy to US and director of Center for Peace, Conversion and Foreign Policy of Ukraine, Rosbalt reported.
Nikonov also believes that refusal to grant MAP to Ukraine and Georgia is because of Europe's reluctance to undermine relations with Russia which has always opposed it. "All sides should demonstrate full unanimity in order to grant MAP and very small number of European countries ready for an open confrontation with Russia," said Nikonov, director of Russian Peace Fund.
Georgian expert Gia Khukhashvili says accession of "real democratic forces" to power in Georgia can play a positive role in Georgia's NATO admission which will contribute to acceleration of admission to the Alliance. "These forces can carry out real democratic and systematic changes as NATO is not only military Alliance, and I think in can appreciate these efforts in a proper way," Khukhashvili told Trend .
Another Georgian expert Koba Liklikadze, quite on the contrary, says one should not expect great changes from the change in power regarding Georgia's opportunities for NATO accession. "Whoever will hold power does not make any sense while there are disagreements over time of Georgia's admission in the Alliance," Liklikadze said to Trend .
If last stake is made on Nino Burjanadze, her policy is less likely to differ from the policy of a current Georgian President to a great degree," Trofimchuk noted. "She has already announced that she will enhance contacts with West in particular with the political structures of West," he said.
R. Agayev ( Moscow) and N. Kirtskhalia ( Tbilisi) also contributed to this article.
The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]