In Georgia’s aspirations for Euro-Atlantic integration, the country’s authorities should continue to fight corruption, guarantee freedom of speech, etc. However, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are becoming the main stumbling block in this process, former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told in Tbilisi.

According to him, at the moment, Georgia “fully meets the key criteria for membership in the alliance,” therefore, the leadership should think about recognizing the independence of the republics.

“You need to start a discussion on the acceptability for Georgia of joining the North Atlantic Alliance without South Ossetia and without Abkhazia,” – he said, stressing that the West would accept such a decision of Tbilisi if it was voiced.

Rasmussen acknowledged the difficulty of such a step, however, he assured that “occupied territories”  hinder the country’s entry into NATO. In addition, he expressed confidence that this campaign will not be confronted with “an actual veto of Vladimir Putin,” who “knows that NATO and the EU are not eager to take responsibility for these problems.”

“If Georgia says that it agrees to join NATO without Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Article 5 will concern only the territory that is under the control of the Georgian authorities,” – Rasmussen concluded.

Recall that according to Art. 5 of the NATO charter, the parties agree that an armed attack on one country of the alliance is considered an attack on the alliance as a whole.

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