The NATO summit in
agreed to allow
some states gave in to Russian pressure.
The NATO summit in
muster enough support among current NATO members to get the go ahead to sign a
Membership Action Plan (MAP), the first step towards joining.
Minister, David Bakradze, said that denying
would show that
had scored a victory “by a policy of blackmail, arrogance and aggression”.
NATO clear. The
supported their move towards membership, but
were sensitive to Russian objections.
“We must make clear that NATO welcomes the aspirations of
offers them a clear path forward toward that goal,” President George Bush said.
disagreed, but to avoid ruffling diplomatic feathers too much the summit agreed
to review Georgian and Ukrainian progress at the end of the year. The rejection
is not definitive. NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, stressed that
still the aim.
Firm on missile shield
on the expansion issue, the bloc’s 26 current members defied
anti-ballistic missile shield in
Right from the start
has opposed the plan to site a radar station in the
President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly threatened to target the countries with
nuclear missiles if the plan is implemented.
Although US and Czech officials recently concluded a deal, talks are
American reassurances that the shield is intended to defend against
missiles from rogue states such as
which is convinced the American plan is targeted against it. In an attempt to
assuage Russian concerns, NATO also offered to extend the protection of the
anti-missile shield to
Kosovo was also on the agenda. The summit decided that NATO’s Kosovo
force will remain deployed “unless the U.N. Security Council decides
vetoed its membership of the organisation over a long-standing naming dispute.
Its delegation then boycotted the remaining sessions of the summit. “This is a
difficult time for a small nation,” Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio
Milosovski told a press conference.
northern neighbour’s use of the name
fearing that the small former Yugoslav republic harbours territorial ambitions
allowed to join when the naming dispute has been resolved, according to the
Greek government. The veto put a spanner in the works of NATO plans to admit
at the same time and stabilise the western Balkans region.
The alliance did, however, vote to admit
Both countries are scheduled to join next year.
NATO members also gave the green light to eventual membership for
Bosnia-Herzegovina by offering them “intensified dialogue”. This also remains a
Guess who came to dinner
Outgoing Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the final day of the
summit last Friday. NATO took all of its key decisions before his arrival.
In Bucharest Putin said NATO’s further eastwards expansion would
constitute a “direct threat” to
but added that a new Cold War was in no one’s interest.
In one symbolic gesture of conciliation Putin agreed to allow non-lethal
supplies to transit
on their way to NATO forces in
Overall, the talks went as expected. “The discussion was frank and
open,” said de Hoop Scheffer, using a typical euphemism for difficult. “I
cannot report that we saw stunning breakthroughs this morning.”
During Putin’s term in office the Kremlin has bitterly opposed the
expansion of NATO into the region which the
once dominated. Nevertheless, NATO influence now expands well into the former
Warsaw Pact area and even into the former
By the time the issue of
comes up for discussion again, Putin will no longer be president.