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PACE delegation is pleased with itself2008-11-05 09:47
The head of the PACE (Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly) delegation Luis Maria de Puig and several other venerable officials visited all four OSCE offices in Georgia - in Tbilisi, Poti, Zugdidi and Gori. And they even drove through the surrounding areas in an armoured car. Then the delegation met the chairman of Georgia's parliament, the secretary of the Security Council, the heads of the Ministries for Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs, as well as the Minister for Reintegration.
"We had important meetings with representatives of the Georgian authorities and received answers to all the questions which interested the PACE delegation," said Luis Maria de Puig before flying out from Tbilisi airport.
It should be noted that the high-ranking guests categorically refused to make any further comment, citing the delicate nature of their mission.
"PACE believes that Georgia and Russia must solve their existing problems through dialogue," said the head of the delegation when he was already by the gangway. "We call for both states to make a turn to normalizing their relations through dialogue."
Russia's Foreign Ministry has already commented on this mission. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused it of directing insufficient attention to the increasingly active role played by Georgian security officials. Early this week, the issue of Tbilisi's continuing provocative actions in the zones bordering Abkhazia and South Ossetia was discussed, at Russia's initiative, at a UN Security Council session. Russia called for the EU to fulfil its commitments and guarantee that Georgia does not use force on this republics.
As usual, the EU did not make any promises. It seems that recently, Europe's missions have only been capable of guaranteeing one thing: that if the situation escalates, their representatives will be the first to flee in that same armoured car. To then appeal for dialogue at a safe distance.
Strange as it may seem, the Georgian authorities have also ended up displeased with the Europeans. To summarize statements made by their representatives and the information obtained from sources within the Foreign Ministry and Parliament, Tbilisi expected moral support, not empty phrases along the lines of, "Come on, lads, let's live in harmony".
Mikhail Saakashvili has managed to obtain more concrete results. On 31st October he was in Stockholm. And obtained assurances from the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt that he would support Georgia's territorial integrity. According to Reinfeldt, Sweden has already promised to allocate 40 million euros for Tbilisi. And to do everything it can to integrate Georgia into the EU.
"Russia carried out ethnopolitical cleansing in Georgia," said President Saakashvili at a briefing in the Nobel Centre. And he repeated: "What Russia implemented was ethnopolitical cleansing. You can come and see for yourselves, if the Russians allow you to." This triumph for Georgian democracy was spoilt somewhat by a young Norwegian who had come to the Nobel Centre with an Abkhazian flag. The young lad from an ultra-left organization was demanding that Stockholm recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia's independence. Security guards removed the trouble-maker. The Georgian delegation later explained that he had most probably been sent by the Russian embassy to disrupt the briefing.