Amateur in charge of Georgia’s Foreign Ministry?10.09.2010 | 11:03
Russian threat is again looming for Georgian FM Grigol Vashadze wary about Russian military bases in Armenia. Yerevan, however, does not share Georgia's panic and openly calls Vashadze to stay away from another country's affairs.
Vashadze's scandalous statement is particularly curious since the treaty on extended lease on a Russian military base in Gyumri Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and Armenian leader Serge Sargsyan signed in August was taken rather calmly by the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As Vashadze's deputy Nino Kalandadze stated then, the decision taken by Yerevan and Moscow is the right of two sovereign states, and Tbilisi considers it important that Armenia fully understand "threats emanating from Russia toward Georgia, also in the regional context". The Georgian diplomat reminded of good relations with Yerevan adding that Sakartvelo has no grounds to suspect that Armenia might somehow challenge regional security.
Politologists, however, are not so self-assured like Kalandadze is. Mamuka Areshidze, an expert for Caucasus issues, highlights: reinforcement of the Russian base in Gyumri is a meaningful message to Georgia. "This is a sword of Damocles hanging above Georgia that can fall down any time", - he believes.
It's hard to say why loquacious Grigol Vashadze took so much time to "ripen". Either he was analyzing expert evaluations or was minding his own business. Anyway, he spoke two weeks later. And what a speech it was! The head of the ministry stated that the Russian military base in Armenia provides no room for stability, security and cooperation. According to Vashadze, the base does not create favorable conditions required to solve current problems in South Caucasus in a civilized and a peaceful way.
Omitting the ways Georgia prefers acting in the region, let's speak about Yerevan: all-knowing Vashadze drove Tigran Balayan, the foreign ministry spokesman, simply mad. "An official of a different country is not authorized to interfere in our affairs and comment on the issues related to our security", - Regnum news agency quotes.
A curious detail: a week ago Georgian FM held a meeting with the Armenian ambassador to discuss extension of bilateral relations highlighting their value. At that time, by the way, he was aware of the documents on the Russian base in Gyumri. Well, generally speaking, it's hard to see the Georgian minister's logic. It is also difficult to discuss prospects of above mentioned Georgian-Armenian relations after Vashadze's scandalous statement.
Still, Russian experts believe that the story won't lead to serious consequences. According to Eugeny Minchenko, director of International Institute for Political Expertise, Tbilisi-Yerevan relations have never been cloudless, in fact. "I don't know what got into Vashadze but Georgia has its own neo-emperial agenda", - he told GeorgiaTimes correspondent. - Georgia claims to be a kind of model, not only to Caucasian republics but to the entire post-Soviet space. Like"everyone should do what we do. We are a landmark of democracy in the region and a sample to look up to". And sometimes this all looks rather comical". The expert referred to Tbilisi's recent statement that Sakartvelo's transformation into a parliamentary republic is an example to follow, though it's common knowledge that Moldavia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine have already done that.
Felix Stanevsky, head of Caucasus department at the Institute of CIS Countries remarks that Vashadze's demarche irritated Armenia. Relations between the two countries are not so good as it seems during official visits. "Still, because of Armenia's half-isolation in terms of transport and the important role Georgia plays for it in terms of availability of routes the Armenian leaders won't push ahead with the issue", - Stanevsky forecasts.
The politologist also added that Vashadze is too late to make such a scandalous statement. We are only left to wonder why he did it actually. Firstly, the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs could think for a long time about attacking or not; secondly, Georgian diplomats could wait for Medvedev's visit to Baku. "Thirdly, it could be a result of non-professional work of the Georgian ministry", - Stanevsky summarizes. - On the whole, the Georgian ministry of foreign affairs is an amateurish ministry. They are too proud of themselves though in fact professionals are scarce. The minister himself occupied not-too-high posts in the ministries of foreign affairs in the Soviet Union and Russia. Besides, he is not so brilliant as far as his professional merits are concerned".