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Does Caucasus need such an OSCE mission?2009-03-03 17:23
The OSCE mission mandate in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict zone can be extended only technically as recently stated by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and the Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.
"We can't demand that Russians withdraw their recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, - her words are quoted by RIA Novosti. - But Russians either can't expect us to change our position of non-recognition. That is why we all have to be realists and find a way out on a technical level to the benefit of all".
The OSCE Chairperson's statements sound peaceful. Greece as the OSCE chairing country is intended to take part in normalization of the situation in South Caucasus. The Greek Foreign Minister deliberately started speaking about a mutually beneficial decision - i.e. for both Georgia and South Ossetia as an equal party which is undoubted progress. But can accord be reached "technically"? It's quite unlikely.
The mission mandate which was valid before January 1 2009 did not stipulate that South Ossetia would become an independent state. But following the August events and September too when there appeared two new countries on the South Caucasian map the mandate virtually became ineffective and was wound up.
The sticking point was the positions of Moscow and Tbilisi. The Russian side insists on establishment of two independent missions in Georgia and South Ossetia. Tbilisi is trying to bring things to the pre-August status quo apparently forgetting about its own contribution to destruction of its own territorial integrity. The situation turned to be quite tricky for the OSCE.
Certainly the name of the mission can be changed without reference to any specific country. The observers will continue their work as they did before. But in this case there is one important reservation: the OSCE mission could not prevent Georgia's attack on Tskhinval. This is basically the main criterion of the mission's efficiency assessment.
Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin had to acknowledge: "In the context of the August events the OSCE has absolutely failed to accomplish its mission". - His statement is quoted by ITAR-TASS. - It failed to keep to its level of responsibility as a crucial instrument of security provision in the region". According to him the information on Tbilisi's preparation and start of the armed assault against South Ossetia that the military monitors had was not presented to all member states. As Churkin said, it became known much later out of the interviews of the OSCE ex monitors to Georgia published in the Western press.