At the NATO summit, Merkel has opposed President George Bush.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken a stand against rapid expansion of NATO by including Georgia and the Ukraine. She feels such a move comes too early. Merkel goes to the NATO summit, therefore, on a course counter to that of US President George W. Bush, who vehemently demands their inclusion in NATO.
Angela Merkel has opposed the inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine into the NATO alliance. Upon her arrival in Bucharest shortly before the start of the NATO summit , she announced that Germany was convinced that it is still too early to include the two states in the action plan for membership. At the same time, however, she made it clarified, “It is undisputed that both countries have the prospect of joining.” The door remains open.
US President George W. Bush has often urged that Georgia and the Ukraine be included in the alliance. “We must make clear that NATO welcomes their efforts toward membership and will offer them a clear path toward their goal,” he said. Bush advocated that NATO accept both the former Soviet republics into the MAP (Membership Action Plan). German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned, however, against straining relations with Russia, which opposes membership of both countries.
Besides Germany, other NATO countries such as France and Italy have spoken out against accepting the former Soviet republics into the NATO qualifying program at the present time. They point to opposition among the Ukrainian population as well as the threat of secession by the Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In addition, it is feared in Rome and Paris that already tense relations with Moscow could further deteriorate.
NATO spokesman James Appathurai said that the 26 NATO countries had to find an amicable solution to the question.