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West ruins Georgia’s territorial dreams2011-01-14 19:31
"Shall we recognize Abkhazia?" - was a question asked by most talkative expert of Georgia Mamuka Areshidze in an interview with Medianews where he said that the West considers it important that Georgian politicians think over recognition of Abkhazia's independence. This almost sensational statement also provides useful opinions on actions of Tbilisi authorities. This is one of them: all current strategies and tactics of returning Abkhazia to Georgia's fold are outdated.
Mamuka Areshidze, as his business card shows, is an expert in Caucasus issues. He makes comments for all mass media that respect him for "subject knowledge".
This time the competent expert suggests that the country's leaders choose the only right path: to let Abkhazia get closer to Europe in order to prevent its total dependence on Russia.
European and American politicians and experts have long been looking for solutions of the Georgian-Abkhaz issue. There is an idea to have Georgia recognize Abkhazia as well as a traditional view of the situation since both states have been de-facto living apart for almost twenty years.
A delegation of Marshall international foundation embracing top G8 officials stated during its latest visit to Abkhazia: "We are ready to acknowledge you. But Georgia must do it first. Persuade Georgians to recognize your independence and we will follow suit immediately".
Mamuka Areshidze thinks the West's cautious proposals to think over recognition of the former autonomy are guided by Abkhazia's interests and the fear that it might grow extremely dependent on Russia. In reality, nobody cares for the future of the small nation, as it seems. Besides, the West can very well take Abkhazia's integration into Russia as inevitable and turn this country's history page over.
As a result, things are getting nasty for Georgia. Tbilisi's revanchism and unrealistic ambitions start irritating the USA and EU countries as well as Georgia's closest neighbors like Turkey and Armenia.
Today Georgia is a main obstacle to regional integration, economy development of all countries in the region and general rehabilitation of South Caucasus as a unique political and economic organism.
In an attempt to isolate Abkhazia and South Ossetia Georgia keeps the borders and routes shut. For instance, if the Georgian-Abkhaz border on the Ingur river is opened tomorrow, as well as highways connecting Russia with Caucasus, Turkey and Iran, very soon South Caucasus will be unrecognizable. Economic stagnation will turn into growth, conflict potential will come to nought, but Abkhazia, a rich transit country, will be lost to Georgia forever even in theory.
Presently nearly one million and a half residents of Western districts of the country are taken hostage by Georgia's political ambitions. In view of the geographical dead-end and breakdown of trade ties with Russia these districts suffer degradation.
As for influential states to which Georgia is greatly indebted, they don't want to be prisoners of Georgia's territorial integrity myth. They set great hopes on Caucasus.
The European Union has acquired a gateway to the Black Sea upon admitting Romania and Bulgaria, but EU "provinces" look depressing. Well-known journalist and researcher Thomas de Vaal writes about crossing the Georgian-Abkhaz border checkpoints on foot. This is nonsense for Europeans: after all Caucasus is not Africa.