Sunday 16th of December 2018, 13:55 CET
Georgia to ask NATO membership this month
November 6, 2002
Associated Press

Posted by HW on December 16, 2018

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said Wednesday that his country would make an official bid to join NATO at the alliance's summit this month.

Strong efforts
Shevardnadze said that the alliance had agreed to consider Georgia's application during the Nov. 21-22 summit in Prague, but wouldn't say when his nation could become a member.
He previously has said that the ex-Soviet republic in the Caucasus would have to make strong efforts to bring its military to NATO standards.

Go West
Shevardnadze, who became known worldwide for his role in helping end the Cold War as Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's foreign minister, has pushed to bring Georgia out of the Russian fold and closer to the West.

Panski Gorge
Russian-Georgian relations have long been strained over the presence of Chechen rebels in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge and Georgia's refusal to let Russian troops flush the rebels out. Georgia launched its own security operation in August to sweep the gorge for suspected militants.

US interest
The United States, which has sent military instructors and equipment to Georgia as part of its global anti-terror effort, has said fighters with ties to al-Qaida have sheltered in the gorge. The United States has sent military instructors to Georgia to train its troops for action against the militants.
 
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