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OSCE to recognize Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s “status neutral”?2009-05-13 16:39
On May 13 Vienna hosts the session of the OSCE committee on a new monitoring plan in South Caucasus with the references to Georgia and South Ossetia to be excluded from the agenda. In the meantime the mass media got hold of information that the organization was serious about a compromise option to establish two independent representations in Tskhinval and Tbilisi.
According to Rosbalt with reference to Reuters agency it is believed in Vienna that the compromise might help to overcome Russia's resistance and extend the monitoring mission whose mandate in Georgia expires on June 30. According to the news agency the proposal planned to be introduced on behalf of Greece currently chairing the OSCE stipulates that 22 monitors will be deployed in the Georgian village of Karaleti and other 8 - in Tskhinval. It is also reported that the updated OSCE mandate will be valid through the end of 2009 with a possibility to be prolonged. "Neutral-status formula" for South Ossetia in the revised mission plan could suit both - Russia and Georgia's territorial integrity supporters", - an unnamed European diplomat emphasizes.
The reaction to this news on the Ministry of Press and Mass Communications of South Ossetia site was positive. "The basic difference of the new plan from the previous ones is that the OSCE leaders have finally accepted changes in geopolitical reality and are ready to abandon national and state references of the reactivated mission. It is difficult to foretell what it will be in practice but one thing is already clear: such an organization as "OSCE Mission in Georgia" is no more welcome to the territory of South Ossetia".
Well, now a lot is said that there will be no geographical reference in the OSCE mission name. No doubt this approach might considerably facilitate the debate over the mandate's new model as after recognition of South Ossetia's independence by Russia the mission can no longer be "OSCE Mission in Georgia" and official Tbilisi supported by the EU is against "OSCE Mission in South Ossetia".
Another acute issue is the formation of two independent missions. If the information of Reuters is confirmed and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Dora Bakoyannis really includes the option of mission deployment on both sides of the Georgian - South Ossetian border in the agenda then it will be a great success of the Russian diplomacy. In April the Russian delegation already suggested creating two monitoring groups in the unquiet region.