File that split PACE24.06.2010 | 18:41
One vote was lacking to close the Georgian-Russian file in the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly. PACE's monitoring committee split in two at the time of voting with 16 votes for and 16 votes against the closure. Georgian diplomats were particularly resentful over putting the issue of the file's practicability on the agenda: the whole Georgian delegation left the room. Still they will have to come back to Strasbourg in autumn.
Boring routine of discussing August 2008 events in PACE will be continued as decided by the European parliamentarians failing to agree on the future of the Georgian-Russian file that has been talked over for a year and a half without any effect.
Desires of the Russian side haven't been accomplished: before the discussion Konstantin Kosachev in charge of Russian delegation expressed hope that the useless document would be shut down. It was not. Though the Russian diplomat was right in other things: the voting revealed the split in the assembly. Some members are sick and tired of discussing imaginary "violations" of international law by Russia, others have made their own conclusions and there are people who persistently lose time over empty talks and come forward with most absurd demands for Moscow to comply with like revocation of Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's independence recognition.
Nonetheless, PACE has made headway in 2010. But does it guarantee that at the assembly's session in autumn the file will be closed forever? This is what GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed with politologists from Russia and South Ossetia.
Why do some European parliamentarians press for discussions over the Georgian-Russian file?
Maxim Grigoryev, Democracy Problems Research Foundation director
There are two components. The first is that PACE comprises representatives of various parties, representatives of various voters having different views of the foreign policy issues. There are people in Europe who are suspicious of Russia and even aggressive. That is why European parliamentarians are trying to take into account part of their electorate. For instance, these are some Eastern Europe representatives. The second component is that a whole number of countries including the USA are trying to keep Russia in tension. One of the points of tension and pressure is Georgia with its anti-Russian stance. However, now this pressure tool on Russia is not so topical since Georgian authorities have discredited themselves in the eyes of Europe.
Valery Khomyakov, National Strategy Council director general
The attitude of a certain part of Europe's political elite to Russia is important here. The attitude is rather negative, it's true. Political forces I'm speaking of are mainly Eastern Europe and ex CIS republics. Azerbaijan's abstinence at the voting is strange. It is also surprising that Party of Regions' deputies (Ukraine) voted against the closure.
Inal Pliyev, independent politologist (South Ossetia)
The first thing that leaps to the eye is that deputies prejudiced against Russia are openly biased. They don't have political positions or principles; they stick to this issue to take advantage of it against Russia and South Ossetia. However Moscow's and Tskhinval's position is fair and is in total compliance with norms of international law. The longer European parliamentarians continue discussions, the more evident our truth and justice will be. Russia interfered in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict lawfully as a guarantor under the 2006 memorandum bringing peace and saving dozens of thousands of human lives. Meanwhile, the USA came to Iraq that has been on war ever since. Thousands of people have died. This, however, is not a subject of PACE investigation.
Is there a probability that the Georgian-Russian file will be closed at PACE's autumn session?
Yes, there is. Political attitude to Georgia's regime is changing after the August war and because of the domestic problems. Europe is disappointed at the trap Saakashvili set for it. Earlier European rights defenders supported Georgia but with time they found out that the picture painted for them differs from reality. Now Europe's attitude to Georgia is quite objective, no one wants to be associated with current authorities in Tbilisi. Pursuit of Georgia's anti-Russian topic in support of Saakashvili is a kind of mauvais tone in European politics. There are real grounds that Georgian topic will be closed in PACE.
I don't think so. Now all deputies, both Russian and European, are leaving for vacations. So there'll be no work over this time.
It depends on correct work in this direction on the part of Russia and South Ossetia. When politicians of different levels come to Tskhinval and see the situation on site they become our supporters. Naturally on condition that they were sincerely mistaken without being biased. Presently the Transcaucasian republic is going through difficult times with the restoration in full swing, but positive changes in PACE are clear now.
Photo by RIA Novosti