BAKU: Europe Not Able To Resolve Conflicts In Georgia: Experts


Trend News Agency
July 18 2008

Though Germany is ready to help resolve conflicts in Georgia, it is
hard to expect assistance from Europe in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict,
experts believe.

"It is hard to expect Europe (as a whole) helping to settle the
Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. That said, Europe (particularly Germany)
is more than happy to help advancement of political stability in
Georgia," Tomoyuki Hashimoto, the expert from London said.

On 17 July, the foreign minister of Germany visited Tbilisi to discuss
a plan for the resolution of Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. According
to media reports, the three-stage plan, developed by the group
of friends of the UN Secretary General on Georgia, envisages the
return of refugees to Gal region of Abkhazia, economic revival of
the self-declared republic and discussing status of Abkhazia.

"At this point, unfortunately, the EU is unlikely to curry out any
missions in Georgia other than to maintain the status-quo. The EU
lacks leadership in the conflict resolution," Hashimoto, member of the
World International Studies Association at the Standford University
said to TrendNews.

According to the German expert Alexander Rar, Germany offers
three-staged resolution of the Abkhaz conflict. "Germany is also ready
to act as a chief sponsor of the economic revival of Abkhazia," Rar,
director of program of Russia and CIS of the German Council on Foreign
Policy said to TrendNews.

The Russian expert Vladimir Zharikhin believes that EU and West
demonstrated their opportunities in the resolution of such conflicts
in case of Kosovo and if such mediation efforts suit Georgia, the
choice up to it.

"Unlike the European countries, Russia does not recognize the
independence of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Trans
Dniester, but the European union demonstrated its position on this
issue in case of Kosovo. If such principal resolution suits Georgia,
then it has a right to appeal for the mediation efforts of West,"
Zharikhin, deputy director of the CIS Institute said to TrendNews.

The expert said that the status of Abkhazia should not be discussed
yet. "The status should be determined at the end of the peacekeeping
process suggested by the foreign minister of Germany. All development
options should remain open and sovereignty of the break-away republics
as well. The first step which Berlin supports is the refusal of the
Georgian, Abkhazian and Russian authorities to solve the conflict by
force," Rar said.

According to Zharikhin, peacekeepers have carried out only mission in
the Georgian and Abkhazian and the Georgian and South Ossetia conflict
zones, which stipulated prevention of military conflict between the
sides. "Their task is to prevent military actions and they are still
doing in spite of losses," he said.

"Generally, there is low probability for military actions in the
region, because Georgia lacks real opportunities to hold large scale
actions. It does not exclude the continuation of provocations,
such as terror attacks, and major task of peacemakers, which are
reinforced at the administrative border between Abkhazia and Georgia,
is to defeat these attacks," Zharikhin said.

After the collapse of the USSR, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which
hold autonomous status within the Georgian SSR, declared their
independence. Following the military conflict, resulting in the loss
of Georgia’s control over this territory, unsuccessful peace talks
are being held. Tbilisi offers large autonomy within Georgia, whilst
separatists do not agree with this proposal.
From: Baghdasarian