Does Georgia need the Guantanamo prisoners?24.08.2009 | 23:04
Last week-end, the Georgian politicians, experts and journalists were breaking their head over the possible ways of locating the Guantanamo prisoners in their blessed land. In the unquiet Georgia with all of its domestic squabbling, periodic mutinies, revolutions and other troubles, the foreign prisoners are really too much. The authorities neither confirm, nor deny the possibility of giving shelter to international criminals: the opinions of the Georgian experts differ.
This week-end, Rustavi-2, the former non-oppositional and currently pro-governmental TV company, has reported the possibility of Georgia's cooperation with the US in the penitentiary sphere and of Tbilisi's readiness to help Washington shelter the former terrorists in its territory. The journalists referred to the information provided by a well-known periodical The Washington Post. The text of the mentioned article is also available on the Inosmi.ru web-site.
Referring to the sources in President Barack Obama's administration, the American newspaper reports Washington to "have conducted positive negotiations with Tbilisi on the matter". The article says that by January 2010, President Obama promised to close Guantanamo established by his predecessor George Bush for the prisoners captured in the course of the "war against terrorism". "Almost 80 prisoners are acquitted and can be released but the American authorities had to face some difficulties while looking for the countries to receive them. Besides, the authorities were confronted by the Congress, which is unwilling to locate the former prisoners in the American land", - the periodical says.
"Georgia has already expressed its readiness to provide assistance. During the interview, the high-ranking officials even joked that Tbilisi is ready to receive all the Guantanamo prisoners should the USA locate a military base in Georgia", - The Washington Post reports. It turns out that the Georgian authorities decided to help Barack Obama keep his promise and accommodate the prisoners in its territory. According to the American metropolitan periodical, 540 prisoners have been transferred from Guantanamo to 30 countries at least. 229 people are still there. Is Georgia going to become the second motherland for the convicted terrorists or for those who are found guilty but are unwanted both in their historic land and in the USA?
Well, that seems to be a rhetoric question. Judging by love for Washington that Tbilisi permanently demonstrates, the government of this South-Caucasian country will agree to any proposal made by the USA. The journalists still cannot get a clear answer from the country's authorities whether there is any agreement as to locating the Guantanamo prisoners in Georgia. According to Gazeta.ru, head of the informational and analytical department of the Georgian MIA Shota Utiashvili neither confirmed, nor denied the information.
One of the leaders of the ruling United National Movement David Darchiashvili leaves open such a possibility. According to him, it is necessary to find out whether it complies with the international law and the Georgian legislation. "If there are no contradictions, Georgia could give the American colleagues its consent to keeping the prisoners in the Georgian prisons, just as it has been made earlier by other US partners, for instance, Great Britain", - the parliamentarian believes.
Neither did the Georgian Vice Prime Minister Temuri Yakobashvili tell anything clearly. "We just expressed our readiness to consider the US' request. In case of any agreement, we are going to consider each candidate to be received: a terrorist is one point, while a person who has been played games with is another point. The Abkhazians have got no reason to worry. Are we fools to bring Taliban upon them?!" - Yakobashivil joked awkwardly.
However, the Abkhazian authorities are so far keeping silent about the possibility of opening the Guantanamo department in Tbilisi. As to the Georgian government, it will have to explain to the electorate why it is necessary to import criminal to an unquiet country. Not so long ago, President of Georgia stated in the heat of another PR-speech: "Currently, 90 percent of leaders of the organized crime in Russia are represented by our fellow countrymen. Our main export to Russia is not wine; it is "thieves in law", criminals and other such elements". Well, is there going to be another inspiring speech as to the legal import of these elements to Georgia?
The opinions of the Georgian analysts, who seem to be much more concerned with the domestic crisis rather than another wave of rapprochement with the West by way of accommodating its prisoners, differ. According to the Georgian media, military expert Kakha Katsitadze believes that the transference of the prisoners from the Guantanamo American base to Georgia is nothing but a theory which is not likely to become real. In his opinion, the reason for such talks is the domestic fight in the US. By raising such issues, the new US administration is fighting the legacy and politics of the Bush administration.