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Two years on; no progress

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, August 13
On August 12, two years after the European Union imposed obligations for Russia to follow the ceasefire agreement endorsed in 2008, the Temporary Commission on Territorial Integrity Issues of the Parliament of Georgia appealed to the International Community to pay more attention to Russia’s fulfillment of the obligations undertaken. “The Russian Federation, violating the agreement signed by their President, started an illegal occupation of Abkhazian and South Ossetian territories despite returning the military forces to the pre-war position and declared the independence of both the Georgian regions after just a fortnight. The fact of ethnic cleansing, which is the attempt to legalise the results of crimes against humanity, was confirmed by the OSCE Summit Resolutions of 1994, 1996 and 1999 as well as in the EU Parliament Assembly Resolutions,” the special appeal stated.

Russia prohibits the UN and OSCE missions from entering the occupied zones. The Parliament appeal stressed that Russia tries to hinder international monitoring processes so that it can finish the annexation without witnesses as well as prepare for the next military aggression. “The Commission welcomes and shares the positions of the international influential organisations which claim that Russia has violated the international norms of law, tried to legitimise the results of ethnic cleansing and annex Georgia,” said the document. Giving the State Strategy for the Occupied Territories and the Action Plan as proof, the Commission statement highlighted the Georgian Government’s dedication to the peaceful de-occupation of the Russian seized territories, despite blackmail and provocations from the Russian Federation.

The Temporary Commission on Territorial Integrity Issues suggested the most essential points for the peaceful solution of the Georgian-Russian conflict are: Russia’s withdrawal of its armed forces from the Georgian occupied territories, intensification of active engagement of international judicial organisations to investigate crimes, introduction of international observers and police forces, return of IDPs to their homes, respecting human rights and the restoration of the jurisdiction on the whole Georgian territory. “The Commission encourages all the legislative bodies of the countries with the supremacy of the law and international justice [especially those who have passed through Nazi and Communist regimes] to estimate the military aggression and occupation from Russian Federation against Georgia,” the authors of the document said hoping that the international community would reach out to the international peacekeeping missions in the occupied territories and work out relevant mechanisms to ensure the safe return of IDPs to their homelands. “The Commission hopes that the UN, OSCE and EU, with other international organisations will do their best to establish stability and security in the region and make the Kremlin follow the obligations of the August 12, 2008 six-point agreement,” the letter concluded.

Kakha Gogolashvili, political analyst thinks that Russia has been acting cynically by avoiding fulfilling the agreement. “It’s absolutely clear that Russia benefits from Europe’s “deafness” thus it is trying some risky steps aimed at restoring the Soviet influence on the international arena by awakening fear,” Gogolashvili said. He stressed Russia won’t follow the imposed obligations unless the US and Europe force it to do so. Another analyst Soso Tsintsadze said Russia is either following a dangerous strategic game or is making us believe that it will erase the responsibility of the crimes committed in Georgia in 2008 by not following the six-point agreement. “I am not surprised that Russia hasn’t fulfilled the August agreement but how can Europe watch the Kremlin’s insolence so calmly? By avoiding the imposed obligations Russia has been showing the whole world that this country is not bound by international rules and law and that they are not at all obliged to meet the requirements of the international community,” the analyst shared with the media.

On August 12, 2008, President of France Nikolas Sarkozy introduced the Georgian Government with the six-point ceasefire agreement endorsed by President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, which according to Sarkozy would have been “a short term solution” of the problem. The first principle of the agreement was a commitment not to use force; the second – complete cessation of military action; the third – free access for humanitarian aid; the fourth – return of the Georgian armed forces to their permanent locations; the fifth – the Russian armed forces would retreat to the line preceding the start of hostilities and the Russian peacekeeping forces would take additional security measures before the creation of any international mechanisms; the sixth: start of international discussions on the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and ways of providing their stable security.

In order to show that the Georgian side was realistically prepared to sign and indeed withdraw its forces and implement these principles to lead towards the gradual normalisation of situation in South Ossetia, President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev claimed it was up to Georgians, Ossetians and Abkhazians to decide whether they wanted to live in the same state or not. As a matter of fact all the principles of the document remain unfulfilled as the Georgian territories are still occupied by Russia.