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OSCE is considering Russia’s initiative but Georgia turns it down flat04.12.2009 | 09:51
The seventeenth session of OSCE Ministerial Council is about to complete its work in Athens. One of these days, Head of MFA of Russia Sergey Lavrov submitted the draft European Security Treaty. Various countries' position as to the new initiative varies a lot. Georgia sharply criticized the new concept before the meeting in Athens. GeorgiaTimes correspondent and the Russian and Georgian experts discussed the Kremlin's initiative.
"It is time for Europe to change. It is time to take decisive measures in order to overcome the discrepancies in the European-Atlantic region", - this was the way Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov presented the new draft Treaty of European Security.
As is known, it was Dmitriy Medvedev who proposed developing the European Security Treaty at the end of June 2008. First discussions on the draft treaty started in June 2009 on the Greek island of Corfu and received the title of Corfu process. The draft proposed by Russia comprises confirmation of the basic principles of safety and interstate relationship in the European-Atlantic territory.
According to GZT.ru, the Kremlin press-service stated that the essence of the treaty lies in "establishing a single, inseparable space in the field of military and political security in European Atlantic that would help finally get rid of the cold war heritage. The point at issue is the legal obligation which prevents all of the countries and organizations in European Atlantic from enhancing their security by means of other countries and organizations' security". The draft Treaty of European Security was published on the RF President's official website on November 29.
Georgia had been outraged by Russia's initiative long before the draft was presented in Athens. Tbilisi often enjoys putting the carriage before the horse and never misses the chance to criticize Russia on any grounds or even without them. Thus, Georgia perfected itself in wit in respect of the Russian capital before the meeting in Athens was held.
The criticism was expressed both at official and non-official levels. For example, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Nino Kalandadze stated at the briefing that Medvedev's initiative is nothing but an attempt to impose his own rules of the game.
Georgian expert Vasiliy Chkoidze referred to the Russian president's new initiative related to the agreement on European security as to an absurd one. As he pointed out in his talk with the journalists, the document allegedly ignores the currently used security mechanisms, such as NATO and OSCE, and the whole of the burden is laid upon UN Security Council.
Before Sergey Lavrov's speech, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Grigol Vashadze attempted a caustic remark in his comments made to Commersant newspaper: "I believe that before proposing any new treaties to Europe and to everyone from Vancouver to Vladivostok, Moscow should learn to observe the obligations it has already undertaken".
Why has President Medvedev's peaceful initiative caused such a stormy reaction? Obviously because Tbilisi is apt to put breaks on each Russian project. Now it decided to take preventive measures lest they across the water should support Russia. Against whom will Georgia make friends then?
It should be noted that Moscow's initiative has not yet received enthusiastic support. Well, such a serious matter cannot be settled in a day. The new Russian initiative is obviously being thought over. According to Commersant, as soon as the meeting was over, those who had been sharply criticizing the Russian initiative fell silent. Most heads of MFA of the EC countries who delivered a speech at the meeting one by one agreed that the architecture of the European security needs improvement. However, they did not refer to the draft treaty that had been previously disseminated by Moscow to all the European capitals.
There was criticism as well. For example, Head of MFA of France Bernard Kouchner started with a remark that the conflict in Georgia has not been settled despite the discussions concerning general security enhancement. Moreover, he reminded that this year the OSCE observers were forced out of the region.
In the opinion of some European politicians, the main points of the treaty proposed by Russia are too vague and it would be premature to speak about the improvement of the European security system, Reuters report. Washington has so far confined itself to a neutral statement that it is studying the Kremlin's initiative in the context of the "reload" with Moscow.
"President Obama received a letter from President Medvedev containing draft Treaty of European Security. We are studying this proposal attentively and welcome the opportunity to continue the dialogue initiated in the context of OSCE", - stated the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, RIA Novosti reports.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State underlined that the reformation of the European security architecture must not affect the role of the North-Atlantic alliance, Associated Press reports.
GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked the Russian and Georgian experts about the prospects of the Kremlin's initiative.