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Is the Charter full of window dressing?2009-01-13 15:59
The Georgian leadership's logic says that the Strategic Partnership Charter with the United States has put the republic on the track leading to a bright future. Partnership in the defence and security sectors, including American support for Georgia's intention to join NATO, partnership in the economy, trade and energy sectors, the consolidation of democracy, the deepening of contacts between the peoples and an expansion in cultural exchanges - these are the key positions of the document. However not everyone shares an optimistic view of this agreement.
Many opposition parties and movements, as some Georgian media publications wrote, have given "restrained support" for this document. But there was still some criticism.
On 8th January, before the Charter was signed, one of the leaders of the Labour party Nestan Kirtadze said the following at a press conference in Tbilisi about reports in the media that the document apparently provided for the stationing of American military bases on Georgian territory:
"The Charter is only a declaration. It makes no mention of bases, it talks about military and strategic partnership. But after this political document another one could soon appear granting the Americans Georgian land."
Kirtadze expressed her conviction that what Georgia needs above all now is not a charter with the USA, but a framing treaty with Russia. She says that making agreements with the Russian Federation that "would normalize relations between the two countries in political, legal, economic and cultural areas" are more important.
And when the signing of the charter had happened, the Labour party rather sarcastically directed the public's attention to the fact that the charter has given Georgia nothing from the point of view of security, even though the document itself was presented to the population as an agreement on mutual military assistance.
"It's all a question of window dressing," noted the Secretary General of the party Iosif Shatberashvili on 11th January in an interview with Kommersant, "aimed at reassuring the people and suggesting to them that in the case of any further aggression from Russia the USA would apparently give military aid to Georgia. But we all saw in August what kind of help the USA is capable of giving its allies." He clearly meant that the "window-dressing" aspects of the Charter have by no means raised the alliance to a new level.
On 11th January the leader of the party "Democratic movement - United Georgia" Nino Burjanadze gave a similar assessment of the agreement (the parts which refer to military cooperation):
"The authorities are deceiving the people," the same issue of Kommersant quotes her, "by claiming that the charter contains guarantees for Georgia in case of war. This is a very dangerous lie. In actual fact the document talks to a greater extent about the obligations of the Georgian authorities to develop democracy and to observe human rights."
Admittedly, Burjanadze doesn't give the names of those people who are claiming that the Charter is a security guarantee in case of a war. We at least don't know who she means.