Julian Borger and Luke Harding
The Guardian
August 20, 2008

The formal process leading to Georgia’s membership of Nato has begun, partly because of Russia’s occupation, David Miliband said today.

In an interview with the Guardian in Tbilisi, the foreign secretary said Georgia had been given a “route map to membership” after the formation on Tuesday of a joint commission aimed at forging closer ties.

He said the commission was an important step towards implementing a pledge made by Nato leaders at a summit in April.

“I think the formal process kicked off yesterday with the establishment of a Nato-Georgia commission, and we have taken seriously the commitments the heads of government made in April,” Miliband said. “It’s an important signal but there is also important substance to it.”

Some European diplomats have depicted the joint commission as a sop to Georgia, predicting its membership will be put on hold because of the conflict with Russia that started on August 7.

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