TBILISI, DFWatch–NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the alliance will address its open-door policy at the Wales summit later this year, but it’s too early to say exactly how.
He said this in response to a question about whether it’s possible for Georgia to expect to receive a Membership Action Plan (MAP) or some other invitation at the summit.
Rasmussen was answering questions after the Bratislava Global Security Forum – GLOBSEC 2014.
“My view is that Georgia has made remarkable progress, carried through reforms, conducted exemplary elections, contributed to NATO… the NATO operation in Afghanistan, done a lot to improve interoperability,” he said, “so Georgia has made a lot of progress and that progress should be reflected at the summit appropriately. But exactly how, it’s a bit too early to say.”
Except for the Baltics, Georgia is the former Soviet country which has gone the furthest in seeking to join the western alliance. Government officials in Tbilisi are hoping to be accepted as a member at the Wales summit, and some even take it for granted that NATO will assign a MAP this time.
Some would see it as only fair, after Georgia has been for years the largest non-member contributor to NATO’s ISAF operations in Afghanistan and is willing to participate in a NATO-led operation in the Central African Republic.
Recently, Defense Minister Irakli Alasania in a speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington called on NATO to install air defenses and other military systems in Georgia.
Later, NATO envoy James Appathurai, who visited Georgia a few weeks ago, said Alasania’s message was clear and he is sure NATO will consider it.