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Friday, 21 October 2016


Back in the CIS, but not yet in August

2009-03-22 23:27

0/6/3/2063.jpegIt is not only possible, but would even be beneficial for Tbilisi to stop the process of Georgia leaving the CIS. The country's envoy to the CIS, Zurab Khonelidze, has declared this. His view has also been shared by Russian experts. But in Georgia the idea has been met with irony and the desire to leave the Commonwealth has once again been confirmed.


Shota Malashkhia, the chairman of the parliamentary commission for restoring Georgia's territorial integrity, has today confirmed Georgia's intention to leave the CIS, reports the newspaper VZGLYAD (View). "The need to remain in the CIS has completely disappeared following the ending of the peace-keeping operation in Abkhazia under the aegis of this organization, after Georgia recognized the "blue helmets" as occupying forces," he said. According to Malashkhia, Georgia is now transferring all its agreements under the CIS onto a bilateral basis. Previously the government has declared that Georgia has participated in 113 multilateral treaties. It would like to keep some of them. Consultations took place on this issue in Minsk at the start of March.

The parliamentarian's statement was a response to the appeal made by Georgia's envoy to the CIS, Zurab Khonelidze, who thinks that it is not the right time to leave the Commonwealth. According to him, it would be easier for Tbilisi to solve many political tasks by staying within this organization, including those concerning Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It turns out that he even has his own idea in this respect: he argues that if all the CIS member states, apart from Russia, recognize Georgia's integrity, Moscow will be given cause to relinquish its support for the statehood of the two young republics.

Zurab Khonelidze regards the Georgian leadership's decision to leave the CIS as an ill-considered step swept along on a wave of emotions. He related in detail what Georgia is losing in an interview with "Vremya novostey". As the diplomat argues, it is now only possible for Georgia to carry out a dialogue with Russia in the format of the CIS, and "its activity in organizations where Russia is not represented is of no importance". "If Georgia does leave the CIS, this will only release Russia from the many commitments which it made under multilateral agreements in the Commonwealth. It therefore follows that Georgia will be harming itself," emphasizes the outgoing envoy.

The government, according to Khonelidze, has already stopped financing his mission, however he is continuing to hold talks with representatives from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and other countries. The envoy believes in the possibility of Georgia resuming its participation in the CIS.

Mikheil Saakashvili, who was flushed with war at the time, announced the decision to leave the Commonwealth at a rally on 12th August 2008. Before then, Georgian politicians had been discussing this possibility for about two years, but could never bring themselves to make this step. The president also called on other leaders of the CIS members to follow his example. However, nobody responded. The head of state's initiative was supported by parliament. The necessary documents were sent to the Executive Committee of the CIS, and on 9th October 2008 in Bishkek representatives of the CIS made the technical decision to end Georgia's membership. According to the charter of the organization, the resolution will come into force a year after the application to leave was sent in. So Georgia still has time until 19th August to rethink its decision.

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