I understand very well that many people in Georgia are a bit impatient. Let me remind you that at the 2008 Bucharest Summit we decided that Georgia and Ukraine would become the members of NATO. That decision still stands, – Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Secretary-General of NATO said at a fifth international conference organized by the McCain Institute and the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) in Tbilisi. He responded to the question – Georgia has been receiving its annual national plan from NATO for 11 years. What do you think has changes? Do you think that Georgia still requires MAP to join NATO?
Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that the issue of granting Georgia a MAP before the Bucharest summit was discussed.
“Before the Bucharest summit, we discussed whether we grant MAP to Georgia and Ukraine. We could not achieve the necessary support. As you know, NATO decisions are made only unanimously, and there was some resistance to the granting of MAP to Georgia and Ukraine. Instead, we decided that you will become NATO members. This message is stronger because the Membership Action Plan there is no guaranty that you will become a member. But, we have decided that Georgia and Ukraine will become members, ” – Rasmussen said.
As he noted NATO-Georgia commission, as well as a NATO-Ukraine Commission, was established.
“We are now continuing to work on reforms within these committees and this process is underway very well. However, I am sure that we did the wrong thing in 2008. I was in favor of granting Membership Action Plan to Georgia and Ukraine. I think we should have done that. I think we sent the wrong message to Putin. It was a message of hesitation, lack of decisiveness, and he used that situation. I see a clear link between the hesitation in the April 2008 NATO Summit and his attack against Georgia in the August 2008. He wanted to send a clear message to Georgia and NATO – don’t get involved in our neighborhood. So we think we could avoid that by granting Georgia and Ukraine a MAP. However we did not do this” – He said.