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Medvedev-Sarkozy plan not being fulfilled

By Messenger Staff
Friday, August 14
The Russian aggression against Georgia which formally began last August has not actually stopped. Technically it ended when the six point ceasefire agreement was signed by Presidents Sarkozy, Saakashvili and Medvedev on August 12, 2008. As Georgia and Russia have no diplomatic relations this is now the only legal document regulating relations between the two countries. However, as in many previous agreements, Russia has failed to fulfil the commitments it has undertaken.

The document as such is humiliating for Georgia. In fact it confirms that Russia’s aggression was successful. But letting Russia keep its ill-gotten gains was the only way to achieve a ceasefire under the circumstances. There are still many questions about where the ceasefire leads us which remain to be answered. But one thing is certain: last August the West managed to preserve Georgia from total occupation by Russia, and with it the capture of Tbilisi, the destruction of the Georgian armed forces and other consequences. Then-US President Bush’s statements, the Presidents of different countries- Ukraine, Poland, Baltic Republics – coming to Tbilisi as a human shield and most of all the activity of President Sarkozy of France prevented what might have been the eternal extinction of the Georgian state as an independent entity.

Could the Russian aggression have been stopped earlier? Was it possible to negotiate better ceasefire conditions for Georgia? These questions are very difficult to answer. However head of the Polish National Security Bureau Aleksander Szczyglo has suggested that President Sarkozy could have negotiated a better text for Georgia which would have clearly guaranteed Georgia’s territorial integrity. However it is too late for this now, and moreover it is more important in the short term to force Russia to fulfil its commitments. In reality Moscow has fulfilled only one point of the ceasefire agreement, i.e. it has stopped taking direct military action. The rest of the points are being interpreted by Moscow in its own way, favourable only to itself. For instance the Kremlin has completely ignored the clause which obliges both parties to withdraw the forces to their positions of August 6. Russia has recognised the ‘independence’ of the breakaway regions simply so it can deploy military bases there, and has already managed to do this successfully. Practically no European country, nor the USA or any international body, the UN, NATO or any other, have lifted a finger to force Russia to retreat and pull its forces back to the positions they occupied before the hostilities started. Thus Moscow’s violation of the agreement it itself signed has become one of the ‘new realities’ Russia is fond of talking about nowadays.

Of course we understand that no force can be applied to Russia. Doing this would start the Third World War, with grave consequences for the entire world, but some sanctions could be applied, because by bullying Georgia Russia is indirectly bullying the rest of the world by attacking the international order. The Kremlin continues to try and make the Georgian territories it invaded subordinate provinces of a new Russian Empire. Russia has also got away with removing the OSCE from South Ossetia and UNOMIG from Abkhazia and continues to prevent EU observers from entering the breakaway territories. By doing this Moscow has quashed the possibility of any unbiased international monitoring of the violations of international law going on in the occupied territories taking place. It is also continually conducting subversive actions and provocations against Georgia, as EUMM monitors on the Georgian side of the administrative border have stated.

Moscow is carrying out intensive propaganda about the alleged ‘Georgian aggression” against its new “sovereign states”, whose puppet regimes are running nothing more than Russian military strongholds, which had previously been rapidly disappearing from the South Caucasus. Russia claims that the Georgian armed forces should not be reequipped and trained and no arms should be supplied to them because they are aggressors. This cynical approach should be condemned by the international community because Russia is putting on Georgia the label which Russia itself deserves, although a few stronger words could be used for it without exaggeration.

Georgia has only one hope: to wait, preserve what remains of its unity, develop its democracy and economy and create welfare in the country. Georgia has witnessed two collapses of the Russian Empire, in 1917 and 1991. We have a popular saying here that everything comes in threes, so maybe we will witness a third one, which unlike the other two will be final. God bless the world, as Georgia is part of it.