Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili comments on a statement by NATO's secretary-general
During a visit to the South Ossetia conflict zone Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili commented on NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer's statement that he would like to see the alliance come closer to honouring Ukraine and Georgia's ambitions for membership. The president said that Georgia now had a chance to realize its dream of NATO integration and noted that much remained to be done over the next two years before this goal could be achieved.
"When people asked when Georgia would join NATO, we never named a year because it depends on a lot of factors. This is the first time I have heard NATO's secretary-general name a date for Georgia's membership. Until now everyone in NATO has refrained from doing so. I believe that this is yet another undeniable sign of the irreversible integration of our country in the Euro-Atlantic arena. What does this mean for us? It means participation in the strongest political-military alliance there has ever been. That is what Georgia has dreamt of for centuries but which until now was never fortunate enough to achieve.
"The support of the Georgian people on this issue is absolutely clear. It is also understandable that some politicians might not like it, but we are still open to all our neighbours. Georgia's becoming stronger and more stable will not only not create problems for our neighbour Russia - on the contrary we want to resolve all existing problems together," President Saakashvili said.
Includes material translated by BBC Monitoring
of the President of Georgia