NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg confirms Georgia and Ukraine could still join NATO, despite Kremlin’s threats
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed the resolution of the 2008 NATO Bucharest Summit that recognized the membership aspirations of Ukraine and Georgia following a meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs on Jan. 7.
“We encourage Ukraine and Georgia in their reform efforts and Euro-Atlantic integration, providing practical and political support, in accordance with the resolution of our 2008 summit in Bucharest,” Stoltenberg said.
“Those reforms are not only required to meet NATO standards – I’m convinced they are crucial to making Ukraine and Georgia resilient against Russian encroachment. We will continue to back Georgia and Ukraine on this path they’ve chosen.”
Both Georgia and Ukraine have been on a “path to NATO” since 2008, which entails meeting a number of reform criteria to standardize equipment and doctrine with the military alliance.
Other NATO accession requirements include a candidate country having a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; fair treatment of minority populations; a commitment to resolve conflicts peacefully; and an ability and willingness to make a military contribution to NATO operations.
The Secretary-General’s statement comes on the background of a recent list of demands, termed “security guarantees”, given by Russia to the United States and NATO on Dec. 17.
These guarantees include a ban on Ukraine’s accession to the alliance, and an end to what Russia has claimed is NATO “encirclement” of its territory, even though Russia shares only a tiny fraction of its enormous border with NATO countries.
Stoltenberg added that NATO and European Union expansion have always been critical for the flourishing of democracy, freedom, stability and peace in Europe.
The two most recent states to join NATO have been Montenegro and North Macedonia in 2017 and 2020, respectively.
Ukraine and Georgia have been invited to a meeting of NATO defense ministers scheduled for Jan. 12-13.
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