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PACE out of Caucasian dead end2011-01-31 19:21
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly made Solomon's decision on the Georgian-Russian file. The dossier with its rich history remains valid but will not be discussed as a separate issue any more: from now on relations between Moscow and Tbilisi will be presented in the form of reference materials. Two capitals reacted differently: the Russian side is satisfied with the new format and it seems Sakartvelo is not happy about the decision.
Utterly politicized document "On consequences of the Georgian-Russian war" so fervently discussed in PACE over the past two years will soon fall into oblivion. In a unilateral decision the assembly brought the report on events in South Caucasus in August 2008 down to the so-called country monitoring category.
European parliamentarians have finally stopped demanding the impossible from Russia like recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, or pull-out of troops from Transcaucasian republics switching over to refugee issues. Annual information notes on Russian-Georgian relations shall be submitted instead of specific region reports.
Evaluating adopted amendments, PACE chair Mevlut Chavishoglu stated that the assembly must focus on humanitarian component while discussing political issues is the task of Geneva talks. "If we act decisively and in synergy we will achieve palpable results on humanitarian issues connected with the consequences of the war", - Chavishoglu said.
Russian diplomats completely approve of the assembly's decision. Konstantin Kosachev in charge of State Duma International Affairs Committee refers to the new format as "time check" adding that discussions are always useful but all practical use disappears when they become politicized.
Leonid Slutski, deputy head of the Russian delegation to PACE, agrees with his colleague emphasizing that Heidi Tagliavini's report and closed hearings on January 17 in Paris on the Russian-Georgian file clarified many things. The diplomat believes that now PACE becomes a place to discuss things as before. "Essentially, today we have been shown a way out of a dead end that the assembly was trapped in as a result of adoption of three resolutions starting from 2008", - Slutsky stated.
Indeed, in light of Tagliavini commission's conclusions that the aggression in Caucasus was unleashed by Saakashvili, routine discussions and absurd ultimatums to Moscow are no more applicable. It is not incidental that one of the parliamentarians confessed when commenting on the change of PACE vector: "Honestly speaking, discussing this topic for long hours at every session has lost any sense, other ways of work should be found".
As for official Tbilisi, that has a long and serious concern over its territorial problems, Georgian diplomats were full of bravado, as usual. "The decision taken by the parliamentary committee for monitoring is highly positive, - Caucasian Knot quotes Georgia's envoy to PACE Mamuka Zhghenti. - It was a reconfirmation of what we have been constantly repeating: Russia is made to comply with the assembly resolutions".
It's a mystery where the diplomat sees obligations. And it's a question not only to Russia, but to Georgian politologists too. For instance, Giorgi Khutsishvili, director of the International Center on Conflict and Negotiation believes that the Council of Europe disclaims its responsibility for settling the Russian-Georgian conflict taking a decision like this. "This causes serious regret, - he says. - Great effort is made to convince Russia and Georgia of the need to start a dialogue, but no adequate reaction followed, there is no advance in this direction".