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Will OSCE emerge from coma?03.12.2010 | 18:16
Coordination of the final document of OSCE summit in Astana is gradually reaching a dead end. The organization may include Georgia's demands to acknowledge the country's "territorial integrity" into the final draft. The Russian side that recognized Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's independence will never accept that. To add piquancy to the situation Belarus criticizes the summit and views OSCE as a "rod in somebody's hand".
Already before the summit it was clear that it won't be smooth. The Georgian side presented their demands in the form of an ultimatum threatening to vote down the final document. As Georgian FM Grigol Vashadze stated, OSCE must confirm commitment to the republic's "territorial integrity" and acknowledge the right of all citizens, now refugees and forced evictees as a result of Russia's "aggression" to their secure and dignified return to their homes.
The dramatic performance in Astana was continued by Georgia's number one actor - Mikheil Saakashvili. Like a week ago when he pretended to be a humble lamb in front of the West stating that the republic was ready to start talks with Moscow for the sake of peace in South Caucasus. This time he did not complain. "Russia keeps ignoring commitments to Georgia and other countries", - the president lamented. - Besides, the Russian side is increasing its military contingent illegally stationed in our territories".
Mikheil Nikolaevich's admonitions have taken their toll. Western leaders were so touched by his emotional speech that they immediately started chorusing about the need to return OSCE monitors to "the whole territory of Georgia" (implying Abkhazia and South Ossetia), as stated by German chancellor Angela Merkel, EU president Hermann Van Rompuy, British vice PM Nick Clegg, Swedish FM Carl Bildt and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Naturally, this non-productive pro-Georgian sentiment could not leave the Russian delegation satisfied. Instead of listening to Dmitry Medvedev's suggestions on development of unique principles of settlement of conflicts, OSCE started pampering the guests from Tbilisi. Realizing hopelessness of the situation, the Russian leader left the summit and Russian FM Sergey Lavrov made it clear that Moscow would not agree to support final documents of the organization in Astana if "the conflict in Georgia" is made the key point. "We are ready to support Geneva discussions in the summit's final documents and but we can't agree that these discussions should be focused on the "conflicts in Georgia" as some Western colleagues suggest", - the minister emphasized adding that "territorial integrity of Georgia" within pre-war borders is absolutely out of question.
Thus, if OSCE does Tbilisi's bidding Astana summit will end in a big comma, not a full stop. No one needs it now, in a situation of crisis. It is not incidental that even Alexander Lukashenko, "Europe's last dictator" criticizes the summit. According to him, the organization lacks unique approaches and uses its authority to put external pressure on "inconvenient states". On the whole, he added, OSCE is "a rod in somebody's hands".
State Duma deputy Sergey Markov, a well-known Russian expert, director of Institute for Political Studies, shares his opinion on OSCE's dubious activity and his outlook for further developments with GeorgiaTimes.
- I think most OSCE states represent a coalition led by the United States. It is a NATO coalition since most OSCE member states are NATO members. Among the tasks of the bloc are Russia's isolation and prevention of Russia's reintegration with post-Soviet states. This task is still on the agenda and there are lots of ways to achieve the goal - suffice it to remember attempts to drag Ukraine into NATO against people's will. The same task makes NATO reject independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and refuse to agree that both nations do not want to be part of Georgia. But Russia will never agree to the thesis on Georgia's "territorial integrity" within its Soviet-time borders to be included in the final document.
Will OSCE manage to reach compromise on the final document?
NATO member states realize that Russia would never approve of pro-Georgian theses, so I think a compromise formula will be found for the final resolution to be adopted in the end. Unfortunately present-day OSCE is an organization that has been deep in coma for many years. Basically it's dying. Yes, Kazakhstan is trying to revive it and Russia points to the need of treatment. NATO seems to pretend that the organization is still alive. Brussels does not announce its death so the North Atlantic Alliance will keep it alive in this condition.