Fournier points to guilty conscience22.06.2011 | 15:15
Last week French ambassador to Tbilisi Eric Fournier gave a lengthy interview for Tbilisebi. The Western diplomat spoke harshly about Georgian leaders outlining the reasons why Georgia is not admitted to NATO and EU and specifying why Europeans consider the country a dangerous place. Yet, this criticism was not the main point local mass media were attracted by. Georgian mass media got offended at the Frenchman because he does not know who started the war in 2008. Un uneasy conscience betrays itself, doesn't it? GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed the sensation with Georgian politologist Giya Nodia.
discussed the sensation with Georgian politologist Giya Nodia.
In his interview Eric Fournier gave a lot of reasons for being offended highlighting that criticism is not what a diplomat should do but description of an event or fact can provoke a certain attitude. He did the description, and according to the reaction of Georgian media, he did provoke a certain attitude. His description was quite selective though. Fournier remarked that Georgian leaders love reproaching others for not meeting commitments. Yet, they prefer to turn a blind eye to their own defaulting. For instance, Tbilisi has failed to comply with the norms of the International Labor Organization Convention, the French ambassador pointed out. Yet, Georgian rulers don't seem to bother about it. Georgian mass media decided to ignore this remark as well as the diplomat's answer why France does not approve of Georgia's entry into NATO.
Fournier justly remarked that this is not the position of the Elysee Palace only. The opinion that the situation in Georgia does not offer possibilities to consider the country as a reliable member of the military bloc is shared by the alliance member states as stipulated by the results of summits in Lisbon and Bucharest. In the meantime, NATO member states are open for military cooperation with the Transcaucasian republic - as seen from the NATO operation in Afghanistan.
Instead, Tbilisi is angry with the French diplomat for his innocent remark on the initiator of the war in South Ossetia. The remark is totally in line with the conclusions of Tagliavini commission's report.
"Georgia seeks those who are responsible for the war in a wrong place. Who started the war? Who was the first to order fire in the direction of Tskhinval? You can't rewrite history and seek responsibility in a place where there is none. Digging deeper, let's demand explanations from the Menshevist republic that exterminated the population of Ossetia in 1921, not in France or any other country. Responsibility lies on nationalism of both sides", - the French diplomat is quoted in mass media.
Georgian analyst Nika Chitidze reacted in a manner "and you have your blacks lynched". "The information that the Menshevist government exterminated Ossetians is a lie aimed at discrediting Georgia. At that time Russia instigated formation of the Soviet Republic of South Ossetia. The central authorities brought troops to suppress separatism. It was entirely legitimate, and Georgia carried out the operation in its territory unlike France that used to be a colonial state, and the area of colonies occupied by France was 21 times wider than the territory of France", - the expert blamed Eric Fournier for the dark past of the French Republic. It is unclear how this can justify Georgia's aggression. The expert followed the same logic commenting on the diplomat's remark that Georgian authorities had better make more efforts to support national minorities including Abkhazians and Ossetians. "Rights of national minorities have always been protected in Georgia unlike France known for persecutions against Huguenots and Jews", - Nika Chitidze said referring to the massacre of Saint Bartholomew not bothering that Saakashvili's sidekicks used the same methods in 21st century.
According to the analyst, the French diplomat's demarche is the reflection of special interests Paris has with Russia.
"Russia and France have common interests. This is not only Mistral, it's gas and other issues. Accordingly, the statement made by the French ambassador was not incidental, as well as the statement of President Sarkozy saying that Russia has complied with the 6-clause ceasefire agreement", - the Georgian analyst said revealing obvious difference of France's attitude to Moscow and Tbilisi and calling on the ministry of foreign affairs to point to unacceptability of such statements to the representative of France.
Politologist Soso Tsintsadze was much more severe criticizing the ambassador. He suggested that Eric Fourner should be expelled from Georgia.
"I don't know what Fournier's grounds are but according to the rules the government must declare Eric Fourner as a persona non grata and have him out of Georgia", - the director of the Georgian diplomatic academy is sure.
However, representatives of the ministry of foreign affairs were not as combative as Soso Tsintsadze. Deputy FM Nino Kalandadze preferred to pretend that she does not believe the words of the ambassador.