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Greece as a peacemaker. An intriguing visit2009-02-10 12:15
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is going to discuss the new mandate draft of the monitors in the region with Georgia. For this purpose Tbilisi will welcome acting Chairwoman of the organization, Greek FM Dora Bakoyanni on February 12.
With reference to Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Georgios Kumutsakos ITAR-TASS is reporting: "The minister's meetings with political and state leaders as well a visit to the OSCE headquarters in Georgia are planned". According to him in Tbilisi Dora Bakoyanni will be informed on current events and will be able to present specific proposals from Greece in order to provide for "the OSCE's presence in the region".
Now the OSCE mission in Georgia that celebrated its 16th anniversary in December (including the territory of South Ossetia) is rolling out due to non-extension of its mandate. The matter is that following Russia's recognition of South Ossetia's independence Moscow insists on formation of an independent OSCE mission in Tskhinval twice vetoing the prolongation of its mandate that as the Russian Foreign Ministry asserts is contrary to new realia. The second time veto was sustained at the time of Greek chairmanship in the OSCE.
It will be remarked that after Greece took over the presidency it immediately decided to take a firm hold of the situation. However this good intention has led to nowhere: the last Vienna meeting in January had no effect. Even Dora Bakoyanni's smile didn't help Russia and Georgia reach accord.
Nevertheless it was not the end of the story. Following the Permanent Council's meeting Georgia's Ambassador to the OSCE Viktor Dolidze made an intriguing remark: "They (i.e. the OSCE - A.G.) have interesting suggestions".
Now Tbilisi is waiting for these "interesting suggestions". Why are they so attractive to the Georgians? Will they again deal with "Georgia's territorial integrity" doctrine? As this position was already announced before the "second try" of the OSCE mandate extension in Vienna but did not help to solve the problem.
"A fundamental principle for us is our territorial integrity that is why we will never agree to a new representation of the mandate that would violate this basic principle", - the Georgian State Minister for Reintegration Teymuraz Yakobashvili was emphasizing at that time.
What will be the result of Dora Bakoyanni's visit to Tbilisi. There are several options.
In case the OSCE does Georgia's bidding again and maintains the format that according to Moscow is out-of-date then most probably two former meetings' scenario with Russia vetoing in the end will be repeated.
Otherwise Dora Bakoyanni will try to convince official Tbilisi of its direct interest to maintain the mission and for this sake to reckon with Russia's opinion? There are certain nuances in this approach too.
Maybe Bakoyanni's words pronounced at the meeting with Sergey Lavrov, Russia's Foreign Minister, are the solution: "Our proposal will not touch "red lines" of any of the parties, - Trend IA is quoting. - But the accord of all OSCE members is essential".
Lavrov in his turn made the following remark: "The proposals under consideration by the Greek chairmanship are realistic and in line with the situation that we have de facto and de jure".
Here it would be appropriate to recall what Sergey Lavrov said before: "The things, that is countries, must be called by their real names, then everything will be all right".
We will learn very soon whether Dora Bakoyanni's visit to the Georgian capital will serve to normalize the situation.