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OSCE skidding in Caucasus2009-04-01 17:08
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) rejected Russian suggestions on extension of its mandate in South Caucasus as recently stated by Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Gregory Karasin.
"We stand for OSCE monitoring activities on both sides of the border in order to have a more objective presentation of events in Georgian-South Ossetian frontier zones", - Gregory Karasin is quoted by ITAR-TASS. According to him the Russian delegation to the OSCE proposed to create two monitoring groups in this region. One group comprising 20 monitors would continue its work in Georgia and the second group would include 8 monitors acting in the zones adjacent to Georgia from the South Ossetian side.
"But all our attempts to provide for establishment of two new OSCE missions on a fair and equal basis were a failure, - the Russian diplomat emphasized. - Georgia rejected our compromise proposals being actively supported by OSCE member states on purely political grounds".
It was the third attempt to prolong the mandate of monitors in the region. It will be remembered that earlier Russia vetoed its technical extension twice. As is known until recently the mission was called "OSCE mission to Georgia" acting in South Ossetia and having one HQ in Tbilisi. Following the appearance of new subjects of international law in South Caucasus the mission format was supposed to change too as the Russian side believes. However Tbilisi is desperately opposed to this idea unwilling to accept post-August reality. Deployment of an independent mission in Tskhinval is taken as recognition of sovereignty.
According to Gregory Karasin the OSCE is trying to preserve past reality of Georgia's territorial integrity that is quite virtual now and submit all activity of the organization in South Ossetia to the mission in Tbilisi.
Now there are no OSCE monitors on the South Ossetian side. But till June 30 they are staying in Georgia according to the decision of the permanent Council of the organization. This "trimmed" format that was considered temporary immediately after extension arouses more and more discontent in Tskhinval. And this is not accidental. OSCE representatives keep repeating that the mission activities in South Ossetia must be resumed. However they meet only with Georgian authorities and announce the mandate extension taking into account Tbilisi's territorial claims. For instance, the OSCE chairperson-in-office, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis has never been to the new republic yet.