Georgians call for Europeans as mediators to drive out Russia

Agency WPS
What the Papers Say. Part B (Russia)
August 24, 2004, Tuesday


SOURCE: Vremya Novostei, August 24, 2004, p. 5
by Vladimir Kazimirov

Why would the Georgian government insist on international involvement
in resolving the Georgian-Ossetian conflict? The Revolution of Roses
doesn’t stand a chance in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Knowing this,
the president of Georgia intersperses peace-loving rhetoric with
aggressive threats.

Georgia wants the OSCE involved in resolving the South Ossetia
conflictGeorgia is striving to internationalize the Georgian-Ossetian
conflict settlement by involving the OSCE. Among other arguments used
by official Tbilisi, there are hints that the OSCE gained the
necessary experience in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over

The latest propaganda move of Georgian diplomacy is not surprising.
President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia is euphoric over his success
in Adzharia. His recent statements to the effect that South Ossetia
and Abkhazia are about to be reclaimed by Georgia only aggravated
tension in the region. The Revolution of Roses doesn’t stand a chance
in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Knowing this, the president of Georgia
intersperses peace-loving rhetoric with aggressive threats. In fact,
he is actually making a threat to settle the conflict by force and
concentrates units of the regular army in the conflict area. All this
regardless of decisions of the Joint Control Commission and despite
old and new accords reached with Russia’s assistance.

Since the pressure fails to solve the problem for Saakashvili, he
questions efficiency of the existing mechanisms of the truce (the
mechanisms that have maintained peace in the conflict area for over a
decade), urges new peacekeepers to enter the conflict area and plays
on the international community’s reluctance to see a new war break
out in the region. Forget Saakashvili’s previous flowery speeches
full of friendship with Russia. This is not Tbilisi’s last move.
There will be others.State Minister Georgy Khaindrava said in an
interview once that Georgia doesn’t have to get anyone’s permission
for actions on its own territory. But this is a conflict zone we are
talking about! These is where special procedures are needed, the
procedures of consultations with the other side within the framework
of peacekeeping structures. If preventing another war is the true
goal, that is.In a similar manner, replacement of the settlement
mechanism requires the consent of the other side, even when that
other side is an unrecognized state formation. Has Tbilisi discussed
everything with Tskhinvali yet?

Neither shall we harbor any illusions with regard to the OSCE
peacekeeping potential or its successes in Karabakh. The organization
cannot boast of any outstanding successes in this sphere. The
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict it has handled for over 12 years is far
from being solved yet. The OSCE peacekeeping operation there exists
only on paper. Its contribution is restricted to monitoring of the
cease-fire regime established a decade ago with Russia’s help, not
the OSCE’s. Minsk Conference for Nagorno-Karabakh has never been
convened. The issue was addressed by the so-called OSCE Minsk Group,
with an unclear status, then by its chairmen, and eventually by the
warring sides themselves. (The group was formed in 1992, its chairmen
currently are Russia, the United States, and France – Vremya
Novostei.) What the OSCE Minsk Group is remembered for is the
obstacles it put in front of Russia bent on settlement of the
conflict. Restriction of Russia’s influence with the region seems to
be its only aim.For reasons too clear to dwell on, no one in the OSCE
needs the conflict between Georgians and Ossetian settled more than
Russia does.

These days, Tbilisi is trying to scuttle the existing mechanism of
settlement in South Ossetia, even though the chances of building
anything more effective are negligible. Why? In order make an attempt
to solve the problem by force all the easier?Vladimir Kazimirov:
Ambassador of the Russian Federation, head of the Russian negotiating
team from 1992 to 1996, presidential envoy for Nagorno-Karabakh,
member and chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group.

Translated by A. Ignatkin