MOSCOW, August 7. /TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev hopes that the NATO leadership will have enough sense not to admit Georgia to the organization, warning that the move could "provoke a terrible conflict."
There is potential for a conflict involving Russia if Georgia is allowed to join NATO, he said in an interview with Kommersant. "We view Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. We maintain friendly relations and have military bases there. We understand that if any other country claims that they are part of its national territory, this may have severe consequences. Therefore, I hope that the NATO leadership will have enough sense not to take any steps in this direction," Medvedev said.
Speaking about the recent NATO decision reaffirming its commitment to eventually admit Georgia, he referred to it as "an absolutely irresponsible position and a threat to peace." "Everyone knows about the internal tensions in Georgia, which believes that the neighbouring territories, which we regard as independent countries, still belong to it," PM said, adding that "this could provoke a terrible conflict."
"I don’t understand what they are doing this for. It’s one thing if it’s a diplomatic trick and they are only saying they will admit Georgia but will not actually take any practical steps towards this. If this is so, we suggest that our NATO colleagues tell us where else they might play this trick. For example, they might invite Kosovo to join the alliance, or the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Will this improve the situation in the world?" he said.
On July 12, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated NATO’s intention to grant membership to Georgia. However, he did not specify when it could happen. At the 2008 NATO summit held in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, member states pledged that Ukraine and Georgia would join the alliance in the future.