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Georgia demands that PACE take measures against Russia

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, September 30
PACE has to decide whether to deprive Russia of its voting rights. Maybe the Russian delegation will ignore the decision PACE makes or just withdraw from the organisation itself. But one way or another Georgia has fixed its position and many European countries have a feeling of at least sympathy for this little country bullied by the northern monster.

On September 9 in Paris a draft resolution was adopted, signed by 72 PACE members, urging Russia to allow EU observers onto the territory of breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia, grant the right of free movement to Georgian citizens and international humanitarian organisations inside the occupied territories, acknowledge the right of IDPs to return to their homes and investigate cases of ethnic cleansing in the Tskhinvali region. Russia has ignored this. It is also clear to everyone that until now Russia has not fulfilled the terms of EU resolution 16/33 which demands that it renounces its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as ‘independent states’ and fulfils the commitments it took under the Sarkozy-Medvedev-Saakashvili agreement and allows EU monitors onto the occupied territories.

Under its rules any Council of Europe member which does not comply with an EU resolution can be deprived of its voting rights. These rules were written long before the Georgia-Russia conflict and apply to all PACE member countries equally. So the question is whether Russia will follow EU rules or just ignore the decisions it makes? One does not need to be a fortune teller to predict that if deprived of its voting rights the Russian delegation will leave Strasbourg and not return until they are restored. The Council of Europe has to take a very balanced decision and it is unknown if it is prepared to take such a serious measure against Russia. Most probably however it would rather sacrifice Georgia.

Russia continually violates the norms of civilized conduct, bullying its smaller neighbour. The whole of Europe demands that it behave itself but it ignores EU and Council of Europe resolutions. This is a serious challenge to the international community. Are the size of a country, its military strength and economic potential the decisive factors when assessing whether to take legal steps? Or is the rule, “What is forgiven to Jupiter is not forgiven to the bull”?

Most probably Moscow will be given extra time to reconsider its position and comply with the demands of the two resolutions. It’s unlikely however that moral pressure will yield any serious results. Russia will not be embarrassed and turn red with shame, on the contrary: anything less than the strongest sanction will give Russia more confidence that it can do whatever it wants to do, ignoring all the rules of international conduct.

This is a warning to the whole world: if you don’t do all you can to stop it, Russia will repeat its aggression! When it does it may not only be against Georgia but other neighbours. It’s your turn to guess who will be next.