UPDATE – Russian premier opposes Georgia’s accession to NATO

UPDATES WITH REMARKS BY ADVISOR TO GEORGIA'S PRESIDENT

By Emre Gurkan Abay

MOSCOW (AA) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday opposed Georgia’s accession to NATO, saying it may trigger a “terrible conflict.”

Medvedev’s remarks came during an interview with the Kommersant FM radio station, which was broadcast on Monday.

“Georgia’s accession to NATO may trigger a terrible conflict and lead to catastrophic consequences. We do not understand why it is necessary,” Medvedev said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had also said that he would view NATO’s further expansion with Georgia and Ukraine “highly negatively.”

In response to Medvedev’s opposition, Tengiz Pkhaladze, advisor to the president of Georgia on foreign affairs, said Georgia’s integration with NATO was “important for security and stability of the region.”

“We can say that Georgia’s integration with NATO is the only guarantee for the security, stability and sustainable development of the region,” Pkhaladze said.

During the July’s NATO summit held in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had said Georgia would become a member of NATO.

“We will continue to work with you to prepare for membership,” said Stoltenberg alongside Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Meanwhile, foreign ministers of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland — all NATO members — will pay a visit to Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi for official talks.

*Nilay Kar Onum contributed to the story from Istanbul.

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