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Georgia in Western focus again

By Temuri Kiguradze
Tuesday, January 27
On January 26 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe [PACE] accused Russia of failing to comply with the majority of its demands concerning the Russian-Georgian war.

In a draft report on the war, PACE says that most of the demands it made in its October 2008 resolution on South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been ignored. However the report, which will be discussed on Wednesday in Strasbourg, does not specify which demands Russia has failed to fulfill, although it urges Moscow once again to implement all the points of the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement.

On Monday the Assembly began its first working session of the year, during which the Georgian side attacked Moscow for supporting the continued secession of Georgian breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in defiance of the PACE resolution. “Among these demands was the demand for the renunciation of Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s recognition. Instead, Russia has established official relations with these de facto states and has appointed Ambassadors,” stated Georgian representative Petre Tsiskarshvili.

The Russian side expressed its protest against the resolution itself, stating that PACE’s evaluation of the August conflict was wrong. “The October resolution declares the August events to have been a war, and that’s a fundamental mistake. This was a bad diagnosis and therefore the treatment was wrong. Russia is not going to accept treatment for an imaginary illness. This was not a Russian-Georgian war but a Georgian-South Ossetian conflict,” said Konstantin Kosachov, a Russian MP, on Monday.

The Chairman of the Council of Europe`s Parliamentary Assembly, Luis Maria de Puig, says there are several issues which lead everyone to deadlock.

“There are two major issues on which the sides fail to agree - the responsibility for starting the war and the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Discussion of these issues leads us to deadlock. However, we should say that none of this organization’s member states except Russia has recognized the independence of these regions,” Puig said, talking to journalists.

Despite this unoptimistic prognosis Georgian officials hope that the new January 28 PACE resolution will be “objective.” “We hope that the resolution will reflect objective judgment and show what Russia has or hasn’t done to fulfill the demands of the October resolution,” said Georgian Parliament Chair Davit Bakradze in Tbilisi on Monday. He added however that Tbilisi is ready for any result, be it positive or negative for Georgia.

Georgian independent political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze shares the pessimistic attitude of the PACE Chair and states that “it doesn’t seem that PACE will bring any results.” Speaking to The Messenger, Sakvarelidze noted that the PACE session is “nothing more than talk as yet.”

Alongside the PACE summit NATO-Russia negotiations are being held in Brussels for the first time since the Georgia-Russia war. The meeting is not formal and only Ambassadors will attend it. The negotiations will focus on the restoration of relations between Russia and NATO. It will also consider the possibility of resuming regular meetings of the Russia-NATO Council. The alliance suspended contacts with Russia after the August conflict.

Dmitry Rogozin, Russian representative at NATO, said that Russia was ready to resume relations with its NATO partners. “However, we are not going to pretend that nothing has happened,” he said. Rogozin stated he has a number of serious questions for the alliance, especially concerning its extremely one-sided assessment of the “Georgian intrusion into South Ossetia.” “This problem is going to be discussed,” Rogozin underlined, noting that Russia is not refusing cooperation with the Alliance, because “Russia and NATO are facing common security challenges.”