NATO Says ‘Clear No’ to Article 5 Excluding Occupied Regions

NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, Javier Colomina Píriz, said “a clear no” to possibly exluding Georgia’s Russian-occupied regions from protection under Article 5, to fast-track the country’s NATO accession.

“I do not think that it is an option,” added the Special Representative, addressing former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s suggestion in 2019 that Georgia should consider temporarily waiving Article 5 protection from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.

In an online discussion on NATO-Georgia relations, held by Georgian Center for Strategy and Development on December 6, the NATO Envoy stressed that “we need to look for an overall solution and do not try to look for shortcuts.”

He argued that such a proposal is not “helpful in current circumstances,” as one of the messages NATO has been conveying “not only to Georgian authorities but to our adversaries” is support for the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.  

“What we would like is actually to see progress on these unresolved conflict in the context of the Geneva International Discussions,” followed Special Representative Colomina. He said he discussed the need for progress in the GID with Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani and Deputy FM Lasha Darsalia during the December 2-3 OSCE Ministerial in Stockholm.

The NATO envoy said looking for shortcuts is not the Alliance’s policy, adding “we consider that Georgia’s territorial integrity should be respected.” 

Noting that Georgia is one of the main partners of the Alliance, the NATO Special Representative highlighted that the country will have “a prominent place” in the new strategic concept of NATO, to be approved during the 2022 Summit in Madrid.  

He said that a key aim of NATO’s enlargement policy is to foster democracy and rule of law, adding the Allied states are monitoring Georgia’s progress in this regard, and closely following the political developments. The NATO Envoy said that several decisions over the past months, including the ruling Georgian Dream party’s decision to quit the EU-mediated April 19 deal with the opposition “was seen and witnessed with some concern.”

The NATO Special Representative stressed that the polarized political situation in Georgia could distract the authorities from delivering progress in this regard, going on to stress the need for judiciary reforms, ensuring media freedom and accountability of the State Security Service. He added that NATO openly conveys concerns about the issues to Georgian authorities.

NATO envoy Colomina also highlighted that despite the Alliance’s commitment, achieving a breakthrough in the Open-Door Policy is difficult. “We have to understand what is the current situation and how unbeatable sometimes realities and geostrategic circumstances are.”

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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