Source Pravda.Ru

Georgia Strives For NATO Membership - 13 December, 2002 - News

Yesterday Georgia’s Ministry of Defense voiced the dreams cherished by the state. To be more exact, it was said that NATO fast deployment troops (which do not yet exist, but are already in the process of formation) would be involved into operations in Georgia’s hot spots. A correspondent from Russia’s news agency RosBusinessConsulting learnt this information from the Georgian Ministry of Defense. But it is not clear why Georgia made the statement with such absolute confidence. Did NATO offer Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze any guarantees concerning the problem? It turns out that although NATO fast deployment troops actually exist on paper only, they have already got a task; at that, the task was posed in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

The Georgian leadership doesn’t conceal what objectives it pursues by making such statements. First of all, Georgian powers that be want to get rid of Russian peacemakers in Abkhazia and of those Russian military bases that still remain on the Georgian territory. For this purpose, any means are good, even different provocative statements.

Georgia President Shevardnadze says that Georgia is to enter the alliance within the nearest 2-3 years; he waved aside any doubts of the possibility that it would happen within such a short period of time. It’s difficult to explain why the Georgian president is so sure about NATO membership. The only explanation to it is that Eduard Shevardnadze has already got guarantees of Georgia’s NATO membership from the USA and leadership of the alliance. Otherwise, all statements of this kind are just a bluff.

Until now, only one wish wasn’t enough to become a NATO member; a country claiming for NATO membership must at first adjust its armed forces in accordance with the NATO standards, which by the way is a rather expensive procedure. Besides, there are other nuances of social, political and economic nature. It is obvious that currently Georgia meets none of the requirements necessary to become a NATO member. What is the present-day state of the Georgian army, the economic state of the country itself and what are political prospects of the Georgian government? If Brussels officials are optimists, it may happen that Georgia will actually enter NATO in two-three years. But it will be possible first of all in case if the alliance and the USA provide assistance, financial aid in particular, and allow Georgia to spend the money uncontrolled. It seems that the US Congress agrees with this condition as it has already approved granting of so-called economic aid at the rate of 100 million dollars annually. Certainly, the sum isn’t enough to adjust the Georgian army in accordance with the NATO standards. However, the first step is the hardest, it may happen that Shevardnadze’s dreams will come true. But in fact, one can hardly believe that the alliance will agree to settle problems connected with Abkhazia and South Ossetia only because the Georgian president wants it.

Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2002/5/73/208/4260_Georgia.html

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