Fourteen US senators have proposed a bill to the US Senate on the necessity for Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO and for financial support to help these countries enter the North Atlantic alliance. As the Senate Secretariat reported, the co-authors of the draft law are Democratic Senator Joseph Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and presidential candidate, and Republican Senators Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel, John McCain, Norm Coleman, and several others.
In a statement accompanying the proposal Senator Lugar announced that the US supports the efforts of new members, such as Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Georgia, and Ukraine to join NATO. The proposed bill envisages earmarking funds to assist them in the sphere of security in 2008. “Each of these countries took a stand on joining NATO and is working hard to meet specific requirements concerning their membership,” said Lugar, expressing regret that NATO still has not approved the Membership Action Plan for Ukraine and Georgia, which has already been drafted for Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia.
“Georgia is a young democracy that has made significant headway since the Rose Revolution. It is located in a pivotal geostrategic location. In addition, its land is crossed by a long stretch of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceihan oil pipeline that carries important energy resources from Azerbaijan and, in the future, from Kazakhstan,” the senator said. “Georgia opposes pressure from the breakaway republics supported by Moscow. In the past, border disputes were given as reasons why this country could not be invited to NATO, but in this case Russia’s, not Georgia’s, actions are standing in the way of Tbilisi’s desire to join NATO,” Lugar argues.
Recalling that seven countries, including Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, recently joined NATO, Lugar noted, “It is time once again for the US to show leadership and call on the allies to accept new members by inviting Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Macedonia, and Ukraine to gain entry to the NATO at the right time.”