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OSCE’s «European umbrella” needs repair2009-04-16 16:22
April 14, Georgian Foreign Ministry: the OSCE presented a set of proposals on mandate extension in the region to Georgia prepared by the organization's permanent council.
The OSCE project was presented by Greek Ambassador to Georgia Georghios Hadzimihelakis at the meeting with Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Nalbandov. According to Novosti-Georgia the document has already been sent to all OSCE member states. "It was emphasized at the meeting that with regard to necessity to prolong the OSCE mission activity in Georgia the parties are ready for constructive cooperation in order to achieve the stated objective", - the Foreign Ministry statement goes.
Thus the organization keeps searching for ways out of the tricky situation it has been in since the monitors' mandate expiration on December 22 2008. It will be remembered that Russia vetoed the mission extension twice due to the new geopolitical situation in South Caucasus after August. Quite recently the Russian side came forward with its own variant of the monitors' work continuation - creation of two independent missions in Tbilisi and Tskhinval. However the OSCE member states that share Georgia's territorial claims to Abkhazia and South Ossetia did not welcome it.
Now Bakoyannis & Co have prepared their own proposal. Judging by official Tbilisi's reaction it was received well. As there are no exact facts it remains unclear what key positions the OSCE will use to reach accord with Georgia. Only one option seems possible: the mission will remain in Tbilisi - as it is now.
Maybe it's even better this way. More than once was Tskhinval disappointed with the OSCE activity because of absolutely prejudiced presentation of events in the near-border territories, the mission's astounding inertness last August and its reluctance to admit that since autumn 2008 South Ossetia has been an independent republic.
Amazingly how the OSCE that apparently has lost any hope to continue its operation in Tskhinval suddenly turned its gaze to Abkhazia. On April 14 in Hague Knut Vollebaek, the organization's commissioner on national minorities, expressed his concern over "pressure being exercised on the Georgian population in Gali district of Abkhazia", - Civil.ge reports. According to Vollebaek it deals with limitation of the right of education in the native language, forced conscription into the Abkhaz military forces and restrictions on their freedom of movement.