Georgia calls to legalize “occupation”12.04.2010 | 10:24
Georgia keeps grappling with Russia on the legal front. The country's parliament calls legislative assemblies of over 50 states to acknowledge Abkhazia and South Ossetia as occupied territories. Assignment of this status will help reintegrate the republics back into Georgia, as it is believed in Tbilisi. Russian interlocutors of GeorgiaTimes discuss prospects of this appeal from Georgia.
There has been a heap of resolutions issued by PACE, Council of Europe, US Congress and some other states in support of Georgia's territorial integrity which failed to help Tbilisi to revoke Russia's recognition of Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's independence.
Now Georgia offers a new pretext to refresh memory of its problems deciding to call 50 parliaments to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as "Russian-occupied".
The document contains the Georgian history of the conflict in Caucasus, there is a reference to ethnic cleansings in Abkhazia as well as all legal grounds allowing Georgia to claim breakaway territories back.
The term "occupation" was introduced by the authorities immediately after the conflict and is stipulated in Georgia's law On Occupied Territories. Gradually it penetrated some international documents too. According to Georgi Kandelaki, deputy chairman of parliamentary committee on foreign relations this is the word used in PACE and NATO resolutions to describe the situation. Besides, Czech and Lithuanian parliaments acknowledge occupation too.
However, recently it occurred to Georgian deputies that gradually the world started to put up with Georgia's territorial losses - a minor concern for most world countries, in fact. That is why it was decided to paste "occupation" and "ethnic cleansing" into as many foreign documents as possible. "We must have this status officially acknowledged by all countries", - Kandelaki says.
According to him, Georgia does not expect a "flash-like reaction" of parliamentarians hoping that the call would take effect still.
The terminology attack was suggested two months ago when in an interview with GeorgiaTimes Russian deputies expressed doubts that Western countries would do Georgia's bidding. Gennady Gudkov, State Duma security committee deputy chairman thinks that adoption of new resolutions on the issue is very unlikely since nobody wants to quarrel with Russia any more. Particularly over such a dubious story as the Georgian conflict lying mostly on Mikheil Saakashvili's conscience. According to Gudkov Georgia simply tries to return to the spotlight.
Politologist Sergey Markov was not so confident that the Georgian initiative would be a failure since Western countries have their apprehensions on Moscow's further claims to Russian-populated regions in other countries. They can spur a new anti-Russian resolution referring to "ethnic cleansings" and "occupation" in order to "do unacceptable damage".
Now that the addressees of Georgia's call are known: firstly these are parliaments of European countries, the USA, New Zealand, Israel, India, Japan, South Korea, Canada etc) GeorgiaTimes interviewed specialists on America, Japan and Europe asking them to forecast the reaction of these countries.
As we know, the USA help and support Georgia in everything taking it up to the level of strategic partners. Despite this Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director of US and Canada Institute with the Russian Academy of Sciences considers indifference as the most likely response to the Georgian call.
- There will be some feedback from the USA, why not. There are those who consider Georgia offended by the big and bold Russia. But most people really don't care about that at all. Somewhere far away there is this Caucasus and Russian-Georgian squabbles - so let them be. 70% will be totally indifferent. Certainly there will be some sympathy but indifference will prevail.
- You mean the adoption of any document at the Congress level is excluded?
- Yes, Americans just don't want to deal with all that when Obama and Medvedev signed a treaty resuming strategic cooperation between the states.
- Can Canada react to the Georgian call?
- It remains to be explained to 90% of Canadian population where this Georgia is, - Kremenuyk sneers.
Georgia has been on very good terms with Japan over recent years having taken loans, attracted Japanese investments and obtained recognition of Georgia's territorial integrity from the Japanese government. But that doesn't mean that Japan will be quick to adopt a new document on "Georgia's occupation", Viktor Pavlyatenko, head of Center for Japanese Studies with the Institute of Far East thinks.
- They have been requesting that for a few years already, as far as I know. I'm sure of one thing: the Japanese won't be initiators or leaders in this process. If they see that other states rise to the fly, that the influential majority criticizes Russia then they might adopt some document. This will be some kind of government resolution endorsed by the parliament.