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Sarkozy has a dig at Georgia2010-10-21 15:53
The author of the well-known 6-clause ceasefire agreement between Georgia and Russia in 2008 launches a new proposal. French president Nicolas Sarkozy believes that Georgia should sign a non-use of force treaty with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. A "non-aggression pact" is a really promising document that will help create new security architecture in the region. But what will Tbilisi reply to the French leader's idea?
In 2008, upon return of Russian and Georgian troops to their pre-war positions and after Moscow signed mutual assistance agreements with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a new peacekeeping model came into effect in Caucasus with Russia's military units protecting borders of two Transcaucasian republics on one side and the EU monitoring mission in charge of order maintenance on Georgian borders.
This double shield is necessary in view of Tbilisi's pursued commitment to return the breakaway territories. According to the Russian side, this rhetoric means that repetition of August 2008 events is still a possibility. By tradition the European Union demonstrates involvement in solving Caucasian disputes ready to do the monitoring both from Georgia as well as from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Other international missions - OSCE and UN - were operating in Caucasus until summer 2009, also in the Transcaucasian republics. However, Russia's recognition of independence of former Georgian territories, the world community's non-acceptance of this decision as well as refusal to reconsider the missions' mandate led to the windup of the monitoring offices.
As for Medvedev-Sarkozy plan, the document is gradually getting out of date. The agreement proposed 2 years ago is linked with the specific situation that disregards new reality in the region. However, that does not keep Tbilisi representatives from occasionally accusing Russia of non-compliance with all clauses of the ceasefire agreement.
To quit discussing Moscow's imaginary non-compliance with the arrangements above, last week the Russian side decided to pull out the border checkpoint from the Georgian village of Perevi. It is believed in Smolenskaya square that the move aimed at de-escalation of tension on Georgian-South Ossetian border will be adequately and constructively assessed by Tbilisi and the international community.
Unfortunately, despite warnings by Russia's deputy FM Grigory Karasin, Georgian authorities took advantage of this act of goodwill in their propaganda purposes. The republic's ministry of foreign affairs presented its own explanation stating that pull-out from Perevi is the first step to long-waited "deoccupation" of Georgia. However, Moscow's accurate compliance with international commitments was received with enthusiasm in the West.
Nicolas Sarkozy, number one peacekeeper from abroad, highlighted that Tbilisi must undertake international commitments for non-use of force in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He also expressed hope that the Russian side will not object to the presence of EU monitors in the republics.
By all appearances, when working on the August settlement plan the president of France realized that discussions around Caucasus would continue after the armistice. He was right: now all participants of Geneva talks on security and stability in Caucasus bring up the issue of new peace guarantees in the region.