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Rasmussen says Georgia not to join NATO next year

22 October 2013 14:57 (UTC+04:00)
Rasmussen says Georgia not to join NATO next year

By Nazrin Gadimova

Georgia will not be a NATO member in 2014, and Ukraine made a decision in favor of a non-aligned status, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Brussels on October 22.

"Georgia's new government confirmed its intention to join NATO. But next year it will not happen, and we will cooperate in the framework of the NATO-Georgia Council," Rasmussen said at a meeting with a group of Russian journalists on the eve of the meeting of NATO defense ministers and a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.

He recalled that at the summit in Bucharest in 2008, both Georgia and Ukraine were in favor of joining the alliance, but then Ukraine has decided to follow the policy of not entering into any alliances.

Earlier, Rasmussen said that Georgia will be the first partner country of NATO, which will become a member of the NATO Response Force in 2015.

Georgia has participated in international missions of the NATO in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Georgia also expressed its willingness to participate in the operations in Mali.

Georgia is currently a candidate for NATO membership and the U.S. is actively supporting its membership bid. Accession to NATO is one of the top foreign policy priorities of Georgia. Soon after the declaration of independence, Georgia joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council.

Georgia's bilateral relations with NATO were established in 1994 when the country joined the Partnership for Peace program (PfP). At the informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in 2006 it was decided to launch Intensified Dialogue on Membership Issues with the South Caucasus republic.

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