Tbilisi prescribing rehabilitation to OSCE16.03.2011 | 16:49
OSCE current chairman and head of Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Audronjus Ajubalis will visit Georgia today. The government of the Caucasian republic puts certain hopes on this visit, so long as the Baltic state is Sakartvelo's great friend and partner. At the very least, the Georgian authorities expect Lithuanian chairmanship in the European organization to resume the relationship and bring the mission back to the country. What are the official Tbilisi's prospects? GeorgiaTimes put this question to Director of the International Conflicts and Negotiations Research Institute Giorgi Khutsishvili.
Georgian officials are excited. Since a small Baltic republic became an OSCE chairman, Tbilisi cheered up and hopes to change the events in the international political arena. The opinions of the member-countries on the Caucasian republic split last December at the Astana summit. The signing of a final declaration was at risk of failure, while Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev with his delegation refused to discuss the agenda at the table with Mikhail Saakashvili. After that, Russia exercised its right of a veto against the document adoption. It was not the first time official Moscow sprang such a surprise on Georgia - in 2008 it refused to prolong the OSCE mission mandate in this country.
Having lamented enough about the position of an outcast in the European community, Georgia decided to wait until OSCE chairmanship passes to some other country that would be less loyal to the "evil occupant". And the dream came true. The coolly intelligent relations between Lithuania and Russia that are unable to agree on assessing certain historic events seem to open almost unlimited opportunities of promoting its own ideas before the Caucasian republic and, perhaps, of bringing the mission of the regional organization back to Sakartvelo.
"Mr. Ajubalis' visit is very important, for we hope that the revival of our relations with OSCE will be possible via the chairmanship of a country that is Georgia's friend and partner. Presently, our relations with OSCE are not that active as we would like them to be", - Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Nino Kalandadze is making rosy prospects. Mind you that not so long ago, Georgian government scolded the organization in every way, foretelling its crisis and complete decay.
But diplomacy is a delicate thing. Today's visit of the head of Lithuanian MFA must demonstrate how far the Baltic state is ready to go in its desire to support Georgia.
One should bear in mind that Lithuania is no Kazakhstan that supported Russia's position and tried to streamline the friendly ties that developed between the two states after the USSR collapsed. As to Lithuania, it stepped on a very thin ice, for at the beginning of March it demanded "fair" gas prices from Gazprom. Theoretically, the gas giant could replace part of the contracted volume of gas by spot volume, only Vilnius is not among the key consumers of the Russian energy resource supplier.
Thus, the Baltic republic might have to offer something in exchange to warm itself at a low price. What's in store for Georgia as soon as the OSCE chairman's seat is taken by Lithuania? This question was put by GeorgiaTimes to Director of International Conflicts and Negotiations Research Institute Georgi Khutsishvili.
"One may expect Lithuania's position in respect of Georgia to be more active and supporting. But I do not believe that the chairman's opinion may really influence OSCE's decision, for it may go against the opinion of the rest of member-countries. In case Lithuania becomes chairman, OSCE mission's return to Georgia will probably be actively discussed. The decisive role of the opinion of Lithuania or any other member of the regional organization requires the key countries' active participation. Everyone understands that the return of OSCE mission to the Caucasian republic would be positive, for it would mean stronger control over the conflict zones, fewer provocations and other complications. But despite that, the influential countries' position is not active enough to match Russia's position on the matter, the latter looking negatively on the revival of OSCE mandate in Georgia", - the expert explains his viewpoint.