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AMD-shock in Tbilisi2011-02-10 16:24
A proposal to deploy anti-missile defense systems in Georgia made by US Republicans have struck Sakartvelo dumb. On one hand, Washington's attention and promised security guarantees can't but please President Mikheil Saakashvili. On the other hand, unambiguous support for Tbilisi demonstrated by Barack Obama's old rivals can make cool relations of the republic's current government with the US leader still worse.
At the end of last week the initiative of the Republican representatives to the US Senate were reported for the first time. According to four senators - Jon Kyl, James Risch, Mark Kirk and James Inhofe - with the help of allies Washington must create a most efficient AMD system to protect the country and armed forces of the allies. "We are sure that Georgia can be an ideal site for AMD radar deployment directed at Iran due to its geographical position. Besides it is better fit for protection against long-range missiles if compared with Turkey", - they remarked.
The motivation of the Republicans interested in South Caucasus is as clear as day. This is a response to Turkish government's conditions set in connection with the USA's plans to deploy AMD elements. Ankara agrees to host a TPY-2 radar (USA) provided Washington does not reveal the information received from the radiolocation station to Israel. Besides, Turkey seeks complete control over the AMD system deployed in its territory.
Probably, Ankara's conditions were a surprise to the White House but there has been no official statement on a "subsidiary" for AMD system deployment in Caucasus.
The most curious thing is that the proposal of the Republican party has not been unanimously approved in Tbilisi. Naturally, at first representatives of Georgian authorities were positive about the signal from Washington. As vice PM Georgy Baramidze stated, the idea to deploy AMD radars in the territory of the republic is rather interesting. "The States are Georgia's strategic partner, and if the issue is put on the agenda, the Georgian side will consider it in all seriousness and adequacy", - he said adding that Tbilisi favors any idea that promotes peace and stability in Caucasus.
As for Georgia's ministry of foreign affairs that is supposed to give an official reply, it seems they understand all complexity of the situation and are thinking hard. Earlier this week Georgian diplomats stated that it was premature to comment on the initiative of the Republicans. "This issue is up to US political leaders", - David Jalagania, deputy minister of foreign affairs emphasized.
To put it in simple words, Tbilisi will keep silent until Barack Obama makes a statement. That means that Georgia will stick to official Washington's position.
Still, while the US leader is thinking over radars in Turkey and Georgia, Sakartvelo's expert community is spouting ideas. Politologist Kakha Gogolashvili thinks that the republic is "an important site" for AMD system deployment offering better protection possibilities against medium-range missiles. With US AMD system in Georgia the country's security will be at a higher level", - he adds.
On the contrary, ex head of Georgian defense ministry David Tevzadze says that deployment of a US radar in the country makes no sense since in case of a global international conflict the republic's air space will be on the front line of missile confrontation. Thus, the risk of a strike increases.