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No fast-track NATO membership for Georgia, says Merkel

Staff Writer |
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday ruled out any fast-track NATO membership for Georgia, ten years after the alliance's leaders pledged the ex-Soviet nation would join the club.

"I do not see Georgia's prompt accession to NATO (membership), this is the position of Germany," Merkel said during a meeting with students at the Tbilisi State University in the Georgian capital.

"Things come gradually," she said of the country's NATO integration during the first leg of her regional trip to the South Caucasus.

At a summit in Bucharest in 2008, NATO leaders said Georgia would become a NATO member at some point, but - under pressure from Merkel and France's then-president Nicolas Sarkozy - refused to put the tiny Black Sea nation on a formal membership path.

Georgia's bid to join the 29-nation military alliance has infuriated its Soviet-era master Russia.

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