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Tuesday, 20 March 2018


Georgia – CIS: never say never

2010-01-19 16:04

5116.jpegOn January 22 Georgian parliament will officially secede from the Inter-parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) explaining that the assembly has always been a formal structure without any functions. Remarkably, saying good-bye to the CIS Georgia plans to stay in nearly 75 international treaties signed within CIS framework. A logical question arises: whom do current Georgian authorities want to show their independence from the CIS to and why?


As is known, Georgia joined the CIS in 1994 closing the list of members. Tbilisi seriously expected that CIS membership would solve problems with Abkhazia and South Ossetia that already then pressed for their independence.

Nonetheless, with Mikheil Saakashvili's advent to power Georgia drastically changed the vector of its foreign policy pursuing US interests in South Caucasus. In the aftermath of August 2008 events Tbilisi decided to leave the CIS on the pretext that after the war with Georgia Russia recognized Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's independence.

A short while later the European Union announced launch of Eastern Partnership scheme, essentially the CIS's direct competitor, aimed at close cooperation with 6 ex-USSR republics - Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldavia, Ukraine and Belarus. Except for financial profit, free trade zones and facilitated visa regime were promised to the members. In May 2009 Mikheil Saakashvili swore Georgia had irrevocably seceded from the CIS and now the EU is its "natural partner".

It is noteworthy that so far Tbilisi and Europe are not exactly on "free-trade terms": the related agreement is still under preparation. As for visa-free access to Europe for Georgian citizens the recently reported seizure of a train in Poland by Georgian migrants will make Brussels think thoroughly before taking a decision like that.

Remarkably, the CIS is not upset about Georgia's departure from the Commonwealth. The Georgian parliament's decision to secede from the Inter-parliamentary assembly was taken ambiguously. First of all, the organization believes that if Georgia departs from the CIS IPA it will not be for a long time. Secondly, in November the Secretary General of Inter-parliamentary Assembly Council informed about Georgia's intention to remain in 75 treaties and contracts including a crucial free trade zone agreement.

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