Georgia President Pushes For NATO To Speed Up Membership

TBILISI, Georgia —  Georgia’s president says he hopes a visit from NATO’s chief will accelerate his nation’s drive to join the Western alliance.

Mikhail Saakashvili said Monday that Georgia and NATO should work hard to show that Georgia is on track to join what he called the “Euro-Atlantic family.”

He said that is Georgia’s proper and rightful place.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer criticized Russia but spoke cautiously in opening remarks before a NATO-Georgia meeting.

Georgia’s president has angered Russia with his pursuit of NATO membership. Last week he said Russia went to war to keep Georgia out of the alliance and warned NATO not to let Moscow get its way through force.,2933,422621,00.html

NATO CHIEF WARNS MOSCOW, “You have no Veto on Georgia’s Membership”

Nato Chief Says Alliance Will Continue To Expand

TBILISI, Georgia —  NATO’s chief said Tuesday the Western alliance will continue its expansion despite Russian opposition and warned Moscow that it has no veto on Georgia’s bid to become a member.

In a strong message of support for Georgia after its debilitating war with Russia, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said “the road to NATO is still wide open” and Russia could not break the alliance’s ties with the former Soviet republic through military action.

“The process of NATO enlargement will continue, with due caution but also with a clear purpose — to help create a stable, undivided Europe,” he said in a speech at Tbilisi State University during a two-day visit.

“No other country will have a veto over that process, nor will we allow our strong ties to Georgia to be broken by outside military intervention and pressure,” he said. “Georgia has a rightful place in this Europe.”

De Hoop Scheffer condemned Russia’s recognition of the two separatist regions in Georgia, saying its sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected. He also called on Moscow to tone down its rhetoric in the wake of the war.

Reflecting NATO’s precarious position, however, he said NATO is “not in the business of punishing Russia” and does not want to be. “Punishing Russia is not the way forward. The way forward, really, is to help Georgia,” he said.

De Hoop Sheffer said NATO would not accept Russian demands that it choose between Russia and Georgia.

He said NATO still wants to work with Russia but stressed that it had put some ties on hold until Moscow complies with a cease-fire deal and withdraws its forces to positions they held before the war erupted Aug. 7 in separatist South Ossetia.

Georgia has angered Russia with its drive to join NATO. The alliance in April declined to take a key step toward membership for Georgia but assured the nation that it will eventually join.

Earlier on Tuesday, de Hoop Scheffer met with Georgia’s parliament speaker during the second day of a visit that comes with thousands of Russian troops on its soil, more than a month after a war that has caused mounting confrontation between Moscow and the West.

De Hoop Sheffer said he and the NATO ambassadors of all 26 allies were in the ex-Soviet republic wanted “to show solidarity with its people, to show that we stand by them as they work to reshape their country and take their proper place in the European and Euro-Atlantic community.”

He said it was “fitting” to be meeting in Georgia’s colonnaded parliament building, the hub of the peaceful Rose Revolution protests in 2003 that ushered President Mikhail Saakashvili to power and set the country firmly on a pro-Western path.

The parliament speaker, Saakashvili ally David Bakradze, said that while the government party faces strong opposition, the country is united in its desire to join NATO and integrate with the West.

On Monday, de Hoop Scheffer and Georgia’s prime minister signed documents creating the new NATO-Georgia Commission conceived in the wake of the war to emphasize alliance support for Georgia and oversee further relations.

The NATO leader also condemned Russia’s use of “disproportional force” and emphasized NATO’s demand that Moscow withdraw to positions its forces held before the fighting erupted, complying with a cease-fire deal brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Under a supplemental agreement Sarkozy reached last week, Russia has pledged to withdraw its forces from Georgian territory outside South Ossetia and Abkhazia, within 10 days of the deployment of EU monitors expected to be in place by Oct. 1.

But Moscow has said it will maintain nearly 8,000 troops in South Ossetia and Abkhazia for the foreseeable future. The U.S. and European Union say that would flagrantly violate the commitment to withdraw to pre-conflict positions.

Russia has adamantly opposed NATO membership for Georgia, whose location straddling a key westward energy route for Caspian and Central Asian oil and gas supplies gives it outsize geopolitical importance.

Georgia has emerged as a major focus of a struggle for influence, pitting a resurgent Russia against the United States and the European Union amid relations that have become increasingly frayed over the past decade.,2933,423103,00.html

NATO is a Treaty Organiztion with 26 Member Countries. The Organization is pledged to the mutual Defense of its Members. Current Member Countries include: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

NATO has helped keep the peace in Europe for 60 years.

Why Georgia & Ukraine belong in NATO – NATO Keeps Peace In Europe for 60yrs – 26 Member Countries

Surrogates for the Obama campaign are attacking Governor Palin for suggesting that Georgia and the Ukraine be admitted to NATO. (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). These surrogates fail to note that most of Georgia’s and Ukraine’s neighboring countries have already been admitted.

NATO was established precisely for the threat currently being posed by the New Soviets in Eastern Europe. NATO,  through the promise of a common defense of all members, kept Western Europe safe from Soviet aggression for 60 years. 

On 29 March, 2004, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia formally became members of NATO, bringing the membership count to 26 Countries.

Formed in 1949, NATO was set up largely to discourage an attack by the Soviet Union on the non-Communist nations of Western Europe.

THE FIRST 15 MEMBERS  WERE: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic joined in 1999.

Artile 5 of the NATO Charter promises, “the use of the members’ armed forces for “collective self-defense”. Palin’s detractors fail to note all 26 NATO countries would be required to come to the aid of Georgia or Ukraine if they were attacked.

Attacks by Obama surrogates to the use of a well stablished, multinational, Treaty organization to provide safety and security to Georgia and the Ukraine is nothing more than a cheap political ploy intended to tarnish Governor Palin and diminish her credibility. Where were these surrogates when the 12 former Communist or Soviet Satellite Countries were admitted to NATO over the last 10 years. Their silence was deafening.    

Palin Interview on ABC – Georgia, Ukraine and Nato

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