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Has the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs «Put Into Reverse Gear»?21.04.2010 | 09:31
Tbilisi is ready to sign an agreement on the non-use of force with Moscow. At the same time the Georgian part refuses to sign any contracts with Abkhazians and South Ossetians whose territories are still considered Italian. What impact will the declarations of the Georgian diplomats have during the negotiations in Geneva and will Russia sign a new legally binding agreement with Saakashvili's regime?
According to the Head of the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Grigol Vashadze, Tbilisi has no problems signing an agreement on the non-use of force with Moscow. «If Russia wants another legal tools, no problem. If the Head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov were here now, I could sign the agreement right now », RIA Novosti cites the News.
At the same time Vashadze stressed that Georgia sees no «legal basis» for signing the relevant documents with Abkhazia and South Ossetia that the Russian part is insisting upon. «They do not exist as countries, - the minister expressed himself in a figurative way. - If we committed such a mistake and signed a document with representatives of these regimes, this would just increase their legitimacy».
According to the Deputy Chief of the Georgian delegation at the Geneva negotiations Sergey Kapanadze, Tbilisi is really ready to sign this document with Moscow, but such an agreement should include several paragraphs of the agreement of 12 August 2008, from the non-use of force to the withdrawal of the armed forces of both countries, Russia and Georgia, says «Voice of America».
The statements of the Georgian diplomats sounded quite strange, especially after the reassuring tenth round of the Geneva negotiations. The fact is that at the end of March the representatives of Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Russia reached an agreement that at the next round of Geneva discussions the new draft agreement on the non-use of force prepared by the Russian part would be used as a basis for consultations. According the ambassador of the South Ossetian President for the issues of post-conflict settlement Boris Chochiev, the new draft of Russia was accepted by all the participants of the discussions. «We are sure this draft will serve as a basis for future guarantees of the non-use of force against South Ossetia and Abkhazia», he said.
As is known, considering the refusal of the Georgian part to sign any bilateral agreements with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, in Switzerland the Russian part suggested that the discussion participants should use unilateral messages (declarations). The Georgian delegation received a draft text with the key statements of such a declaration, including the obligations not to attack Abkhazia and South Ossetia that Georgia could sign on the level of President or Minister of Foreign Affairs and then send to the Chairman of the UN Security Council. According to this suggestion, Abkhazia and South Ossetia would also sign the relevant declarations and send them to the Chairman of the Security Council.
The Georgian delegation promised to consider this issue and discuss it at the next session of the Geneva discussions planned for 8 June. But according to the words of the Georgian diplomats, the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already weighed Moscow's suggestion and is likely to have judged it negatively.
Naturally, a question arises: will the Russian part be ready to sign a new legally binding agreement with Saakashvili's regime bypassing the young Transcaucasian republics? A GeorgiaTimes correspondent spoke on this topic with some representatives of the South Ossetian authorities and with some Russian experts.
Dmitry Medoev, South Ossetian ambassador in Russia
This is a very strange declaration of the Georgian diplomats. It means that Georgia was going to attack Russia. As is known, in August'2008 the aggressor country was Georgia and the victim South Ossetia. So to sign an agreement on the non-use of forces with a third party is absurd. In this case Moscow will guarantee the preservation of peace in the Caucasus, and the Russian part will not sign any bilateral agreements with Georgia. Now Tbilisi is just looking for somebody to blame for its inability to come to an agreement either with Moscow or with Tskhinvali and Sukhumi.
Will Vashadze's declarations have any impact on the Geneva negotiation process?
I hope not. Any negotiation site is always better than a battlefield.
Sergey Demidenko, expert of the Institute of Strategic Evaluation and Analysis
I think that such statement of an issue excludes its positive solution in principle. The declarations of the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs are no more than a political gesture. Georgia is making another move towards Abkhazia and South Ossetia and shows the international community who prevents the «Georgian territories» to unite. They say it is impossible to agree with satellites. If Tbilisi sets the question in such a way as now, I am sure that Moscow will declare that the Russian part simply cannot and will not speak and decide for the states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia recognized by it.