NATO: Georgia cannot become NATO member with collective defense article not covering Abkhazia, S. Ossetia
Georgia’s accession to NATO
Javier Kolomina, Deputy Assistant Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, said that Georgia cannot join NATO with a special reservation regarding the 5th paragraph of the North Atlantic Treaty. This means that the collective defense and NATO’s commitment to protecting the ally will not be extended to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Kolomina said at an online meeting of the Georgian Center for Strategy and Development.
In 2019, former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that, in order not to hinder Georgia’s integration into the North Atlantic Alliance, Tbilisi should consider joining NATO in such a way that paragraph 5 does not apply to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are not controlled by Tbilisi.
“Germany joined NATO in 1955, but only its western part. The NATO Charter did not apply to East Germany. However, after the unification of Germany in 1991, the NATO charter was extended to East Germany. In principle, a similar mechanism could be developed for Georgia. Of course, this is controversial, and this should be taken into account both in Georgia and in NATO, ”Rasmussen said in 2019.
He also noted that the Alliance made a mistake in 2008 when it did not provide Georgia and Ukraine with the NATO Membership Action Plan.
Article 5 of the NATO Treaty is known as “one for all and all for one” and this principle is the cornerstone of a military alliance.
Article 5 also emphasizes that collective protection measures, including “military force”, should be applied only when necessary.
“My answer to the proposal of the former NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen is unequivocally negative. I do not think that’s possible. To be honest, I don’t even think it would be helpful in the current circumstances. NATO has supported and continues to support the territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. This is one of our main messages not only to the Georgian government but also to our rivals”, said Kolomina.
According to him, the Alliance would like to see progress in these unresolved conflicts in the context of the Geneva International Discussions. According to Kolomina, Georgia is definitely one of NATO’s closest partners, and the current relationship is beneficial to Georgia.