Georgian leader: joining NATO is irreversible process

Georgia Materials 19 June 2006 16:54

(RBC) - Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said his country had a real chance of joining NATO in two years time. Not only do we need Georgia, but the whole world needs it, that is why joining NATO is an irreversible process for us, he said.

The Georgian President said there were a couple of countries that did not want to see his country in the NATO. But there are countries that want to accept us immediately, and their number is greater, he argued, expressing hope that the situation would change automatically in Georgias favor over the next few years, reports Trend.

At the same time, Saakashvili stressed that Georgias main problem was the territorial integrity of the country. If Russia solves this problem with us, I assure you that nothing else is so important, the President said.

If Georgias territorial integrity is restored with Russias help, we will certainly remain part of the European Atlantic area, but the manner in which this is done will depend on the circumstances, he said.

So far, the process is going in the reverse direction, towards annexation, and

there is a very serious daily threat of provocation in the Tskhinvali region, Saakashvili said. We have one goal, and we will achieve it either in conjunction with Russia or with the rest of the world, but I hope this will happen with Russias help; there is no other alternative, we will not wait for a hundred years to solve our most urgent problem, Putin said.

Saakashvili could not say whether Georgia will withdraw from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). We do not have a clear answer on our withdrawal from the CIS, the Georgian head-of-state told the Imedi television company.

Regardless of whether Georgia pulls out of the CIS, Saakashvili said, Tbilisi is in consultation with CIS countries on the creation of a solid legal base in different areas. Whatever happens, relations with the CIS should not be affected, he stressed. We must be very practical here, preserving everything good, the Georgian President said.