BRUSSELS -- Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has told RFE/RL that his country can "commit to joining [NATO] today," saying that his country has "fulfilled basically every requirement" needed to become a member of the alliance.
Speaking on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels on July 11-12, where the leaders had a first-ever meeting at the level of heads of government with Georgia, Margvelashvili said his country was "ready" to join and added, "We are standing here [ready] to become NATO members so the question [if we can join the alliance] is to [be answered by] the NATO member countries."
The leaders of the 29-member alliance adopted a declaration at the end of the summit stating, "we reiterate the decision made at the 2008 Bucharest [NATO] summit that Georgia will become a member of the alliance."
The declaration added, "we recognize the significant progress on reforms which Georgia has made and must continue to make, which are helping Georgia, an aspirant country, progress in its preparations towards membership."
However, there was no mention of when Georgia can join NATO or when the alliance will offer Tbilisi a Membership Action Plan (MAP).
A MAP is a multistage process of political dialogue and military reform to bring a country in line with NATO standards and to eventual membership. The process can take several years.
Like at previous summits, some European countries were hesitant to open the door to Georgia now, prompting Margvelashvili to note, "we have to reach that consensus because this is not only a security organization but it is a democratic organization and you need the support of each country.
"So we have to convince them that NATO, Europe and the United States will be safer and better when Georgia becomes a NATO member."