Georgia creeping under UN’s wing20.01.2011 | 19:52
Despite the fact that the Georgian-Russian file was not closed at PACE parliamentary hearing in Paris, things have all the same moved off dead center. According to Russian diplomats, the discussion of South-Caucasian problems was uncommonly constructive and fruitful for the first time in a long period. However, the Georgian side still cherishes a hope to promote the idea of "occupation". Having ignored the file discussion, Tbilisi is making curtseys to UN and is asking it for help.
The reasons of the PACE representatives' behaviour were described by head of Russian delegation, Chairman of International Committee of the RF State Duma Konstantin Kosachev in the following way: the Assembly has grown tired of the constant discussion of the conflict reasons. According to the diplomat, more and more sensible members of the organization realize that the situation is a deadlock and leads nowhere. "That is why they are trying to find a new meaning in the work on the file and break the circle of false preconditions leading to false conclusions, - Kosachev is cited by Russian Newspaper. - Perhaps, for the first time in the whole of post-conflict period, I feel certain optimism that PACE will at last manage to find its position in the relevant
discussions and will bring real good".
The discussion of the file will be continued at the end of January at the meeting of the Monitoring Commission of the Assembly. Now that the opinions have been exchanged in Paris, there is an idea that the notorious document should better not be closed but should be transferred to the sphere of settling humanitarian problems in the South Caucasus, whether it will be crossing the border between the republics of developing a format of the monitoring mission taking into account the new realities in the region.
However, will the European parliamentarians manage get that far? On one hand, behind the scenes delegation members admit the falseness of their initial conclusions and attempts to lay the responsibility for the August-2008 events on Russia. On the other hand, Tbilisi's disapproval of the West's intention to set aside the issue of the "de-occupation" that is so painful for Sakartvelo is becoming obvious. As is known, Georgian diplomats never came to Paris, having referred to the fact that the Assembly has already adopted declarations but Russia "does not comply with them". Konstantin Kosachev characterized these statements as empty rhetoric and one cannot but agree with him.
Perhaps, Georgia's whims will finally make the West discuss the regional situation with representatives from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, who, by the way, have got a lot to tell the international community about Saakashvili's democratic "oasis" in the wide territory of the former USSR and methods used by Mishiko. Anyway, Georgian politicians have got another target now - the UN.
Having evidently realized the hopelessness of their complaints about the "evil northern neighbour", Sakartvelo diplomats embarked on bowing to other organizations. They picked the United Nations Organization as their number-one target.
This week, Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri met with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and, of course, delivered a mini report on the situation in the "lost territories". "UN's support is very important for the process of settling relationship between Georgia and Russia, - Gilauri flattered him lavishly. - Also, we need your support of Georgia's territorial integrity".
Tbilisi's vain attempts and the prospect of discussing the Caucasian issue in PACE and UN was discussed by GeorgiaTimes correspondent with Ruslan Kharabua, expert of the Caucasian Department at the CIS Countries Institute.
What is the future of the Georgian-Russian file, in your opinion? Will it be closed or transformed into a new format?
I believe the future of the file will be discussed further. This issue is very important for the Georgian delegation from the standpoint of withdrawing Russian troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Presently, however, they do not see the necessity of taking part in the new-format negotiations. The file politicization is inevitable: Georgia's number-one problem is the issue of restoring its "territorial integrity" but it's simply impossible to view it in the humanitarian aspect. Tbilisi will hardly agree to discuss any other issues, though refuges, for instance, are a political component as well, to some extent. The frontier issue also means touching upon politics. Perhaps, negotiations will be held in a totally new format but as we can see from Geneva talks, this is tourism rather than real settlement of any problems.
Can one expect the enhancement of the UN's role in the negotiations on the Caucasian situation?
UN has been taking part in negotiations on Abkhazia for a long time, and I believe that this organization will be involved in the settlement process to some extent. I leave open the possibility that it will really happen but it is not going to happen in the nearest future.