Former NATO Chief Offers Georgia To Consider Joining Alliance Without Abkhazia, S.Ossetia

Former NATO Chief Offers Georgia to Consider Joining Alliance Without Abkhazia, S.Ossetia

TBILISI (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 10th September, 2019) Former Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen proposed to Georgia on Tuesday that it join the alliance without Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the country's break-away regions recognized as independent by several nations.

"I think that Georgia has come a long way and accomplished many things. Especially in the military field - Georgia levels up to the standards of NATO. Of course, that's not all - you have carried out many important and successful reforms; fighting against corruption, etc. You shall continue down this road," Rasmussen said at the international conference in Tbilisi, as quoted by the Georgia Today newspaper.

The resolution of territorial disputes is one of the criteria for joining NATO. However, after Tbilisi launched a military offensive against South Ossetia and then partially destroyed its capital, Tskhinval, in 2008, the break-away regions gained independence, which was recognized by Moscow and several other countries.

"It is obvious that the unsolved conflict about the border of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with Russia is a big issue. So this question follows the subject: how can this problem be solved? I believe that this issue should be discussed within the borders of Georgia," the former secretary general said.

Representative of the European Georgia opposition Otar Kakhidze reportedly said that the proposal seemed interesting, stressing that the government should consider the idea more thoroughly.

The cooperation between Georgia and NATO began soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union when the country joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in 1992 and NATO's Partnership for Peace program two years later. In 2008, NATO leaders agreed that Georgia would become a member of the alliance provided that the country met all the requirements for this. During the 2014 NATO summit in Wales, a package of measures to advance Georgia's efforts in its preparations for the bloc's membership was approved.

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