At this week’s meeting, NATO will reportedly offer advice on reforms which Ukraine and Georgia need to pursue to be considered for potential membership, but they are not expected to offer formal roadmaps on the process.
The move, proposed by the British government, aims to keep the two nations at least on track for potential future membership but will avoid further damaging diplomatic relations with Russia and will likewise avoid guaranteeing specific terms of membership to either of the troubled nations.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili had pressured the alliance to come to a compromise on offering a firm roadmap for membership, cautioning that failure to do so might “embolden” Russia. Saakashvili also suggested that Russia’s retaliation in the August War was in part the result of NATO failing to agree on a roadmap in late April. The United States was initially rumored to be pressuring NATO to speed up the membership process, but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later insisted that the US position was that the two nations were not ready for membership.
Georgia’s path to membership had already been stalled by questions about the nation’s democratic credentials, and will likely be further put into question by several reports about its behavior in the August offensive against South Ossetia. Ukraine’s ability to join the alliance is hampered by, among other things, the inability of President Viktor Yushchenko to keep a coalition government together for more than a few months.