Georgia and CIS: Unfinished Affair?27.11.2009 | 16:51
At the heart of the Georgian external politics of the latest years there are some paradoxes that are difficult to explain. How did they manage to destroy the centuries-old good neighbourly relations, and why are mutual confidence perspectives hazy? The situation of Georgia's withdrawal from the CIS was ridiculous. Saakashvili declared this officially last August. The official divorce with the Commonwealth was registered a year later. But so far Georgia remains a member of the Inter-Parliament Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The GeorgiaTimes correspondent looked into the twists and turns of the Georgian relations with the CIS.
Some time ago it became known that Georgia has not quitted the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of CIS (IAC). It remains its full-fledged member. The issue of its withdrawal from the organization will be considered at the coming session. According to the Inter-State TV company «MIR», this is the desire of the republic itself. Experts explain this delay by Georgia's unwillingness to break its relations with the CIS. If the country does not recall its application, it will officially quit the IAC this January. However, the organization members believe it will not last long.
According to the General Secretary of the IAC Council Mikhail Krotov, «Georgia is going to keep 75 contracts and agreements, including such important ones as those on the free trade area».
However, the day before the Christian and Democratic Movement (CDM) promoted the initiative of making Constitution amendments that would imply Georgia's refusal to participate in political, military, economical associations created by those states that do not acknowledge its territorial integrity as of 21 December 1991. This was stated at the briefing by the Deputy Chairman of the Christians and Democrats opposition fraction Nikoloz Laliashvili.
«Russian political circles have been making more statements running that after changing Saakashvili's regime Georgia will return to organizations similar to the CIS. To prevent it, it is required to make some amendments to the Constitution that will fix the unflinching will of Georgia. Whoever comes to power, the Georgian vector will not move to the North», said the oppositionist Parliamentarian.
So shall we expect the return of the prodigal Georgia to the negotiating table with its ex fraternal republic? And why, having left open the door to the Commonwealth (over 70 contracts and nothing less!), the Parliamentary opposition promoted such a radical initiative, trying to burn all the logs remaining from the former strong bridges of friendship?
The Director of the Caucasus Department of the Institute of CIS Countries, Felix Stanevsky, who used to be a Russian ambassador in Georgia, noted in his conversation with the GeorgiaTimes correspondent:
-I believe that Georgia definitely quitted the CIS last August. If it decided to keep the contracts, let it be so. In principle, in my opinion, Georgia does not represent a big loss for the Commonwealth. Being its member, it drew it to a cleavage, officially pursuing a policy complicating normal political and economic relations. If, according to experts, Georgia has decided to go back to the CIS, I would say one «however». This kind of return would mean a return to normal principles of co-operation, abandonment of divisive activities. I would be satisfied with it. But I can see no trend to such a turn. And the declaration of Christian Democrats is another confirmation of this fact.
In conclusion Felix Stanevsky also noted that many Georgians start understanding that it will be impossible to improve their relations with Abkhazians and Ossetians without normal civilized contacts with Russia.
The Georgian political scientist Ramaz Sakvarelidze said in his telephone talk with the GeorgiaTimes correspondent:
-It should be noted that withdrawal from the CIS is nearly the only question on which the authorities and the opposition do not differ. At this stage the return of Georgia to the Commonwealth is unreal.
According to the political scientist, the situation could be changed due to the position of CIS countries, analyzing why Georgia quitted the CIS, which mistakes were made both by Georgia and by Russia. «If this analysis had been performed, the Commonwealth could be transformed into a more fruitful structure», notes Sakvarelidze.
As for the initiative of Christian Democrats that are trying to be more saint than the Pope and are demanding constitutional amendments to make a return to the CIS practically impossible, Sakvarelidze notes:
-Their worry about the sovereignty of the country is understandable. Though it is not quite clear how it can concern the CIS. None of the CIS countries, except Russia, has recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. CIS countries are not responsible for Russia's steps and it is not sure that the CIS as a structure will not recognize the integrity of Georgia. As regards similar amendments to the Constitution, this is not at all approved by the political circles. But each party insists on some changes on the Constitution level forgetting that the Constitution is not a wish trunk.