is offering an article originally published by Eurasianet.org in recent times. The
article mainly illustrates the attitude of Georgian and Abkhazian senior
official’s about how NATO membership could affect Georgia’s perspectives of
officials are saying -- again -- that they will make some concrete progress
towards NATO integration during the alliance's next summit in Wales in
September. “There is a high probability that at the next summit we will have
new instruments for closer integration with NATO. Whether it will be called a
MAP [Membership Action Plan] or it will be a new instrument… it has yet to be
decided,” said Defense Minister Irakli Alasania in an interview with Rustavi 2
TV, reported Civil.ge .
But will that help Georgia regain its lost territories?
what Georgia's new cabinet minister in charge of affairs in Abkhazia and South
Ossetia, Paata Zakareishvili, told The Bug Pit. Not because those breakaway
territories want to be part of NATO, but because it would signal strength. I
didn't bring up NATO in our interview, but Zakareishvili did: "We need to
see very serious steps toward NATO to show Abkhazia and South Ossetia.... the
European institutions should have our back, so we feel strong. It's quite clear
that it's too early to talk about MAP, but there are signals... that there is
progress. If we had MAP, we'd be more confident talking with the Abkhaz and
Russians, we could say 'Look. we're going there anyway.'"
continues: "NATO is not attractive [to Abkhazia] but it's the reality.
Georgia is not part of any regional security organization. We left Russia's,
the CIS, we don't see any prospects there. Now we're in a transitional period.
We left somewhere but we haven't reached anywhere else yet. And the Abkhaz see
this. And they see that nobody accepts Georgia, or didn't accept us for a long
time, so what's the point of talking with Georgia? Here is Russia, which is
more secure -- maybe it's not the ideal system, but it's still more secure. So
why should we follow Georgia, if Georgia has no prospects? We need to show that
Georgia is clearly going toward Europe."
foreign policies of the two breakaway territories are different: while South
Ossetia seems content to be absorbed into Russia, Abkhazians see themselves as
European and want to carry out an independent foreign policy. Nevertheless,
rhetoric about joining NATO does not impress the Abkhazian government.
Viacheslav Chirikba, the foreign minister of the de facto republic, expounded
on this in an interview
with Civil.ge :
don’t care about Georgia’s vision, it is a foreign country and we look at it as
through the TV set, as much as we look at Ukraine, or Italy, the U.S. or
Greenland. We are detached from Georgia, we are a different country, we don’t
care what they want – to be part of whether it is Russia, China or South Korea
or the U.S. It is their decision, we don’t care about it.
if they want to use NATO as a tool against us of course we do care. That’s why
we don’t want Georgia to become strong, invariably aggressive, even now, the
rhetoric may be different but the aims are the same – to re-occupy us.
if they want NATO as a tool against Abkhazia of course we do care so we are
against it. Of course people in NATO are not crazy to risk to go against Russia
in order to help Georgia to get Abkhazia back. We are risking the third world
war here. It is a nightmare for everyone, it means it will not happen probably,
but why does Georgia want to become part of NATO? Because it wants a tool
against Abkhazia, our citizens, to get Abkhazia back and a tool against Russia.
It is not what they say, ‘we share common values’ etc. Excuse me, this is for children
to consume. It is very pragmatic, and the EU the same, it is their choice. If
they want to be close to the EU, well, why not…”
Bug Pit had a chance to follow up on this statement, and asked Chirikba if
Abkhazia would join NATO itself. "Against whom?" he asked. (It's
worth noting that other Abkhazian officials in the past have not ruled
out NATO aspirations.)
But would they be part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization instead?
Chirikba was noncommittal, saying that while Abkhazia wanted to be an observer,
at least, of Russia's economic integration projects like the Customs Union; it
was happy with its current security relationship with Russia and that "so
far it [CSTO accession] is not on the agenda."