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EU to yield the palm in Caucasus2009-06-01 13:27
With the UN Security Council discussing the mission's new mandate in Georgia and Abkhazia the European Union is getting more active on the issue. Recently the Georgian side and the EU signed the annex to the monitors' mission memorandum in order to extend its functions.
The annex to the Memorandum of Understanding between the European Union Monitoring Mission and the Georgian Interior Ministry was signed by the EUMM Head Hans Jörg Haber and Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili. The document stipulates considerable extension of the territory to be inspected by the monitors without prior notification to the police. "The importance of the annex is that the zones adjacent to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, mentioned in the original MOU are now clearly defined as the Neighbouring Districts to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, namely: Kazbegi, Dusheti, Mtskheta, Kaspi, Gori, Kareli, Khashuri, Sachkere, Oni and Mestia, Tsalenjikha, Zugdidi", - the mission's official statement is quoted by VZGLYAD.
The MOU between the EU and Georgia has been valid for half a year already. In January Brussels and Tbilisi signed an agreement on creation of restricted-weapons zone in the territories adjacent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. As EUMM Deputy Head Clive Trott told Civil.ge then these measures excluded any possibility of offensive operations on the part of Georgia but would not affect the country's defense capacity. In April the sides prolonged the agreement for three months. Now the document contains new clauses.
From an outside perspective the actions the EU takes in the Caucasus seem quite humane and justified. But unfortunately events prove the EU's good intentions are only on paper. Russia repeatedly informed the world community on concentration of Georgian forces on the borders with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Guided by the security considerations Moscow raised the issue of signing non-use of force agreements between Georgia and Abkhazia and Georgia and South Ossetia before the UN Security Council. Moreover Russia's UN Envoy Vitaly Churkin recently told about the Russian delegation in New York discussing the international embargo on supply of offensive weapons to Georgia. It should also be remembered that for the first time in over half a year the UN has a real opportunity to continue its activities in Abkhazia - Ban Ki moon's new report is generally acceptable for both the Russian and Abkhazian sides.
In view of this the EU's more active behavior in the South Caucasian direction seems an attempt to come into notice especially against the background of the UN's successes. Besides the EU supports another European structure - the OSCE. On May 28 EU Special Envoy for South Caucasus Peter Semneby stated: "The European Union stands for continuation of the OSCE's activities in Georgia hoping that even now when the consultations on the issue are suspended, it is possible to find a way to preserve such an important element of the field presence", - the European diplomat is quoted by Izvestia. According to him the EU is resolute to turn the South Caucasus into a stable region with open frontiers and resources for well-being, and the recently launched Eastern Partnership project manifests the EU's intention to take the ties with Transcaucasia to a new level.
It has long been understood that the European Union has its strategic interests in South Caucasus. Semneby's words confirm this once again.
That is why entering into various documents with Georgia first of all shows the organization's pragmatic approach and support for the odious Tbilisi regime - not its humane aspirations.