NATO approves special entry program into alliance for Georgia

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili presented a special program for Georgia's entry into NATO at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels yesterday. After the presentation, Saakashvili and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer held a joint briefing.

De Hoop Scheffer said NATO approved Georgia's special entry program. The special program was developed during former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze's administration. The NATO secretary general positively evaluated Georgia's efforts to become a member of the alliance and said a meeting at NATO's headquarters took place in the 26 plus 1 format - the 26 members of NATO and Georgia. Both sides said they were doing all they could so Georgia could join the alliance as soon as possible.

In addition, De Hoop Scheffer and Saakashvili discussed various aspects of the problem of Russia removing its troops from bases in Georgia. Saakashvili said Georgia had successfully completed the first round of the NATO entry process. He also said his country was able to prepare an army closer to NATO standards under difficult conditions.

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