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TBILISI, May 18 (Itar-Tass) — Georgia's Labor Party has spoken out against this country's course at getting membership of the North-Atlantic pact, callling it "perilous", the Secretary General of the party, Soso Shatberashvili, who is person number two in the ranks of the Labor, told a news conference Friday.
"The Labor party has always believed that control over the two integral parts of Georgia -- the Abkhazian and Tkhinvali regions -- wouldn't have been lost if the Georgian political leadership had timely abandoned the plans to join NATO," Shatberashvili said.
Georgia's political elite traditionally refers to the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia, two young South Caucasian nations, as the 'Abkhazian and Tskhinvali regions' in a reminder of the status they had formally had before August 2008 when the government in Tbilisi launched a bloody punitive operation against South Ossetia and Russia had to intervene in order to coerce Georgia to peace.
"As soon as the Labor Party wins the parliamentary election in October, it will announce immediately that the country drops off the course at NATO membership," Shatberashvili said.
The party, founded in 1995, has stood in opposition to the former President, Eduard Shevardnadze, and to the incumbent President, Mikhail Saakashvili. It advocates a course at non-alignment with military and political blocs, saying non-alignment will help Georgia normalize relations with Russia and "reunite the country peacefully".
This position stands at variance with the stance mainained by most other opposition forces, which have NATO membership among their guidelines.
One more political force that has spoken against NATO is the Party for Georgia's Renovation that was set up about six months ago.
"It's not NATO membership that is the main objective for Georgia now, it's the normalization of relations with Russia and the start of a reunification process, the return of the Abkhazian and Tskhinvali regions to a united Georgia through dialogue with the Abkhazians and Ossetes," said Mindia Gulua, the party's chief advisor on international affairs.
May 20 and May 21, President Saakashvili is due to take part in NATO's summit conference in Chicago where, according to the officials' calculations, "progress that Georgia has achieved along the part of intergration in NATO will be recognized."
Georgia will take part in the summit in the rank of an aspirant for membership.