Speaker Papuashvili: Some East European Governments Skeptical Because Their Political Partners in Georgia are in Opposition, not in Government

In today’s open letter on Georgia’s NATO membership prospects, Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvlii writes: “It is unfortunate that some Eastern European governments that were most ardent supporters of Georgia’s NATO and EU membership have now turned into skeptics, simply because their political partners in Georgia are in opposition, not in government.”

He maintains that “Georgia’s NATO membership should stand above partisan politics” and argues that „with all these past doubts” about Georgia’s NATO accession “addressed either by the Georgian government’s efforts or historic geopolitical shifts, now we see no comprehensible argument as to why Georgia cannot be admitted into NATO“.

In a lengthy letter ahead of the NATO Vilnius Summit, the Speaker of Parliament reviews NATO-Georgia relations and puts forward four arguments to support the claim that Georgia is ready for NATO membership. First, he stresses that Georgia has participated in NATO operations, “thus demonstrating its commitment and dedication to the values and policies of the Euro-Atlantic family of nations”.

Secondly, he argues that GD government “has dealt head-on in the last decade” with the “lack of democratic credentials argument” and “Georgia, as a democratic state, has become unrecognizable compared to what it was a decade ago”. On the latter point, he specifies: “Starting from reforming the system of checks and balances to the implementation of European standards of governance enabled Georgia to earn the European perspective and, in fairness, to distinctly qualify for the EU candidate status. Moreover, by now, Georgia has better democratic credentials in the rule of law and governance standards, and public sector integrity than some of the NATO member nations have.”

Thirdly, writes Papuashvili “past deficiencies of defense capabilities have also been addressed.” And the last argument has to do with the fears of “irritating Russia and making it more belligerent, on which the Speaker argues: “We can now confidently say that only a resolute response can avert disasters such as the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The only area of peace and stability is the one which is protected by NATO’s Article Five. Anywhere else falls into the grey area with potential risks of war and bloodshed.” He then goes on to say that had Georgia been a NATO member in 2008, there would be no Russia-Georgia war, neither the occupation of Georgia’s territories, “which further exacerbated not only Georgia’s but, also, wider regional security predicament.”  

He argues that the rejection of Georgia may also have contributed to the Ukrainian disaster and writes that “NATO borders show where the boundary for peace is drawn.”

The Speaker concludes: “You cannot justify now the Alliance’s rejection of Georgia by citing domestic politics.” He brushes away partners’ criticism of Georgia’s domestic developments by saying: “Competing foreign political interests, in conjunction with domestic radicalism, can always create misperceptions about deficiencies in Georgia’s democratic system”.

He also laments that Georgia’s long-time partners, mainly in Eastern Europe, have become skeptical, saying that this has happened “because their political partners in Georgia are in opposition, not in government.” In this context, he mentions the Estonian Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, who said in a recent interview that the Georgian government “does not really push that agenda [NATO membership] that much”. Speaker claims that “nothing can be farther from the truth.”  

He concludes: “Alienating Georgia from NATO, at this historic juncture, just because of differing political tastes, is a mistake that the future will not forgive.”

Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister today confirmed that the Georgian delegation to the NATO Summit scheduled to kick off tomorrow in Vilnius will be led by Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili.

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


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