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OSCE mission’s failure2008-12-31 12:28
The question of extension of the OSCE monitoring mission in Georgia will not be solved until Europe recognizes Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. This idea was expressed by Russia's Ambassador to the Organization Anvar Azimov on December 30.
"The truth is, - he noted in the interview with RIA Novosti, - that our western partners, not we, keep fantasizing about the past and refuse to accept objective reality - the existence of two independent states - the Republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia".
It will be remembered that last week Russia did not back prolongation of the OSCE mission's mandate in Georgia. It stipulated Abkhazia and South Ossetia as part of this country's territory, while Russia recognized their independence in August.
"The OSCE mandate in Georgia, - Azimov specified, - is hopelessly out-of-date in connection with the changed realia and needs exclusion of all clauses referring to South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In this case Russia will agree to approve single independent OSCE missions..." Russia's arguments and grounds are clear: the format in which the OSCE mission operated in the region for 15 years has virtually run out and requires considerable revision.
And here is the prequel. The OSCE observers started their work there in 1992 following the outburst of hostilities between Georgia and South Ossetia in the territory of the latter. In 1993 this republic and the international organization above signed the ‘Memorandum of Understanding on the OSCE Mission in Georgia". Till autumn 2008 this document was the legal base for the mission's presence in South Ossetia.
In this period it has implemented a number of humanitarian projects. However following the August events when the region faced a mass of problems the monitors actually discredited themselves and brought their efficiency into real challenge.
The official statement of the South Ossetian part of the Joint Control commission on settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict published on December 21 reads that "the reports of the OSCE mission in Georgia are prejudiced. They deliberately conceal information on violation of the previously executed agreements by the Georgians side. The mission is aware of these violations though these facts are kept back". It's unknown whether it is true or not but quite a glaring example of the mission's helplessness or some other greater fact is its self-withdrawal from any attempts to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in South Ossetia where Georgia cut Russian gas supplies. And non-performance of the resolution accepted by negotiators in Geneva on this issue.