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Will Lithuania's example be followed?

By Messenger Staff
Monday, June 7
As is known Lithuania’s parliament has officially acknowledged that Georgia’s territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are occupied by Russia. So the question arises: will the international community and the countries with whom Georgia has friendly relations do the same or refuse to through fear of upsetting Russia?

Georgia’s leadership thinks that the example set by Lithuania will be followed by other countries. The initiative was raised by 76 Lithuanian MPs, however not all of these attended the special parliamentary session which discussed it so 55 MPs voted for it, 9 against and 23 abstained. The proposal was authored by Mantas Adomenas, whose Lithuanian Christian Democrat party is a member of the ruling coalition and supports Georgia.

Various international organisations have recognised both the occupation and the ethnic cleansing which has taken place in the occupied regions, for instance PACE, the OSCE and the UN. However it is a precedent for these facts to be confirmed by an individual state. The resolution adopted by Lithuania gives certain recommendations and also acknowledges that the recognition of the occupied regions as independent states is illegal. The Georgian authorities are sure that other countries will also follow this example, at least Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze says so. He also expresses confidence that everything will start from international legislation and the occupier will retreat from the territories.

Obtaining international recognition of the territories as occupied, and achieving their eventual de-occupation on the strength of this, are long term tasks which might take many years. Some Georgian analysts think that this is not the right approach however and Georgia should start direct talks with Russia through delaying discussion of the occupation issue. Georgia says that it will not talk to Russia until the territories are de occupied, so it is suggested that negotiations could begin if the occupation issue was put to one side.

Analyst Mamuka Areshidze suggests that issues such as the conduct of Russian solders on the temporarily occupied territories, the exact definition of the Russian-Georgian border and many more relatively trifling issues could be discussed with the Russians rather than de-occupation. . Areshidze thinks that if these discussions are attached to the Geneva process they will ultimately be more effective. But such an opinion is also challenged. Would holding such negotiations mean that Georgia is ready for further concessions, and would they be a real guarantee of visible progress being made?

Nobody can give Georgia definite guarantees that Russia is prepared to follow international rules or fulfill any commitments it has undertaken. Nor can anyone predict that it will stop stubbornly promoting its theory of a 'new reality' existing in the Caucasus. There is no point in talking to people who refuse to listen. There is always a point to acknowledging the truth however, and the truth is that the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are currently occupied by the Army of the Russian Federation, on the orders of the Government of that Federation. As this is the reality it should be acknowledged by everybody, and dialogue can start on the basis of this.