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Georgia Lobbies NATO For Closer Links


http://gdb.rferl.org/d1bad3e6-3c29-4abf-b777-92a158b2f460_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/d1bad3e6-3c29-4abf-b777-92a158b2f460_mw800_mh600.jpg (RFE/RL) BRUSSELS, April 13, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Georgia's ministers for defense, foreign affairs, and Euro-Atlantic integration visited NATO headquarters in Brussels today to ask for an "intensified dialogue" with the alliance, as Ukraine and NATO did last year.


Such a dialogue would amount to a first, tentative acknowledgement of Georgia's membership prospects.


Georgia follows an Individual Partnership Action Plan, which guides reforms but does not commit NATO to offering membership.


A NATO official told RFE/RL today that most allies, led by the United States, support closer cooperation with Georgia.


The NATO official says there is no timetable for Georgia's progress, but said a NATO summit in Riga in November could be a milestone in Tbilisi's quest for a full Membership Action Plan (MAP). A MAP outlines concrete measures needed to prepare an applicant country for NATO membership.

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