The Wall Street Journal an international daily newspaper with a special emphasis on business and economic news published an article about Georgia’s Minister of Defense, Tinatin Khidasheli’s visit to Brussels. The article by Natali Bendavid is titled “The Woman Seeking a MAP of Georgia” talks about Georgia’s prospects at joining NATO.
Tinatin Khidasheli stated in the article that Georgia is awaiting an admission action plan from the alliance on the upcoming summit. According to her, the NATO summit coincides with Georgia’s elections campaign and a negative response from NATO may damage pro-western forces.
Read the whole article below:
On the job for just three weeks, Georgia’s new defense minister was in Brussels this week to kick off a tough mission—persuading the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to give her embattled country a path to membership at its summit next year.
Tina Khidasheli, a longtime human-rights lawyer, betrayed some impatience as she recounted all her country has contributed to NATO in recent years and the promises it’s received in return.
“We have passed through all the possible middle steps in the integration process,” Ms. Khidasheli said. “There’s nothing else left.”
NATO leaders, at last year’s summit in Wales, promised Georgia a “substantial package” and “eventual membership.” Georgia, which has contributed significantly to NATO military missions, is eager for a stronger commitment.
Specifically, Georgia wants a “Membership Action Plan,” considered the final stepping stone to joining, at NATO’s July 2016 summit in Warsaw. But some NATO members question whether Georgia has democratized enough, and they worry about extending their mutual-defense guarantee to a country that neighbors Russia and whose territory is partly controlled by it.
But Ms. Khidasheli said the NATO summit will come in the midst of a Georgian election campaign and that rejection by NATO could hurt pro-Western parties. “If the answer is negative from Warsaw—you can take my word for it, and I hate to say it—but it will have an immediate implication for the election results,” Ms. Khidasheli said.
Few countries are caught between Russia and the West quite the way Georgia is. It’s among NATO’s top partners and last year signed and sweeping political-and-trade deal with the European Union. But two of its regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, remain occupied by Russian-backed forces after a war in 2008.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed “treaties” with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are unrecognized by most of the world.
During an interview at the Metropole Hotel in downtown Brussels, Ms. Khidasheli was interrupted by a chime on her phone, alerting her that Mr. Putin was meeting with the “president” of South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov.
Ms. Khidasheli was active in the 2003 Rose Revolution that ousted Georgia’s Communist-era regime, later breaking with its leader, Mikheil Saakashvili. Ms. Khidasheli is married to Davit Usupashvili, chairman of the Georgia’s parliament. She was named defense secretary after several high-level departures and a cabinet reshuffling by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.
In contrast to Mr. Putin, with his goal of reassembling as much of the Soviet Union as possible, she suggested that Western leaders are far more uncertain. “You don’t really see an agenda,” she said. “What do these states want to do? How do they see the world in 10 years?”
If Montenegro is invited to join NATO by year’s end, as many expect, Ms. Khidasheli said NATO should turn to Georgia next.
“My plan is to work as hard as possible, to push as hard as possible,” she said. “Everyone who knows me will know that it’s not going to be easy to talk to me and to deal with me. If I am desperate, then that’s it.”