Geneva: Saakashvili’s dead end05.10.2011 | 17:02
A new round of talks on security and stability in Caucasus between representatives of Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Russia, the USA and international organizations has started in Geneva. As expected, the discussion will be focused on a non-aggression treaty to avoid repetition of August 2008 events. Before going to Switzerland official Tbilisi announced an intention of Sakartvelo's diplomats to sign a non-aggression treaty. This document has been concern of the Russian side for a long time. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed prospects of the negotiating process with Ruslan Harabua, a politologist.
correspondent discussed prospects of the negotiating process with Ruslan Harabua, a politologist.
Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has been publicly stating for already a year that he has no intention to attack Abkhazia and South Ossetia again. He calls his promises "legally binding" refusing to sign any documents with Sukhum and Tskhinval. Referring to the Transcaucasian republics as "occupied territories" of Georgia, the leader of Sakartvelo considers equal talks with Abkhazia and South Ossetia beneath his dignity. Yet, he expects some "peace gestures" from Russia.
Naturally, the Georgian ministry of foreign affairs is hypocritical too. Before the trip to Geneva where the 17th round of talks on security and stability in Caucasus is starting today, Georgian diplomats emphasized: Tbilisi wants Russia to undertake obligations of "non-use of force against Georgia".
Are the diplomats from Tbilisi planning to perform a new act of the absurd theater play their president loves so much? Last week Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said Moscow is ready to guarantee non-use of force commitments between Abkhazia, Georgia and South Ossetia on the basis of official statements made by leaders of three sides earlier. "We have a firm intention to do our best to avoid repetition of a force scenario in Caucasus like it happened in August 2008", - the Russian diplomat emphasized adding that the five-day war is a result of the regime's adventure. Lavrov also explained that Moscow, as a guarantor, is ready to take measures for non-resumption of violence in the region and seek prompt settlement of problems on the basis of applicable norms of international law if such cases occur.
It seems Saakashvili is not satisfied. He wants a treaty with Russia. However, it would be right to remind Mikheil Nikolayevich that Russia had not started the war. Russia's actions were aimed at peace-enforcement of the aggressor who killed peacekeepers and civilians in South Ossetia. Medvedev-Sarkozy plan eliminated all acute issues of that conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi. Moscow has no intention to enter into new documents with Georgia's current regime.
As for signing a legally binding treaty between Tbilisi, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it is a vital problem. The Transcaucasian republics want to have guarantees that the five-day bloodshed won't be repeated. Yet, Saakashvili keeps play-acting. As deputy Russian FM Grigory Karasin remarked, Georgian authorities don't want normal relations with Moscow. On the contrary, they impose Russia's image as an enemy. According to the diplomat, the purpose of it is to distract attention of Georgian population from current problems and shift responsibility onto external forces.
However, it should be remarked that this time Sakartvelo's talkers were first to discuss a non-aggression pact. Maybe, common sense will win in the end? Answering this question, Ruslan Harabua, a leading expert of the Caucasus Department at the Institute of CIS countries, came up with an idea that even if Georgia agrees to sign an agreement on non-use of force with Abkhazia and Ossetia, they will set forth their conditions. "At first they will demand pull-out of Russian troops from the republics and return of refugees. This is a dead end. Neither Russia, nor Abkhazia or South Ossetia won't do that", - our interlocutor believes. - By the way the issue of return of refugees is out of question. Those who wanted to return have already done that. Besides, return of all refugees will launch a new war".