European Parliament To Discuss South Caucasus Resolution


19 May, 2010

‘Authorities in occupied territories block’ EUMM; ‘Democratization of
paramount importance’ ‘Clarify situation regarding media ownership’
‘Concerned’ over Eutelsat’s decision

European Parliament will discuss on May 20 a draft resolution on EU’s
strategy for South Caucasus three countries.

The draft resolution, which addresses conflicts, human rights and
democratization as well as economic issues of the region, in respect
of Georgia calls for EU’s "further engagement" in order to secure
"full implementation" of ceasefire agreements.

The document, which condemns Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South
Ossetia, says that "Russia and the de facto authorities of the occupied
territories, which are under Russian effective control, are blocking"
full implementation of a mandate by EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia,
which is not able to access the breakaway regions.

The draft "calls for increased EU action to persuade Russia and the
relevant de facto authorities to stop blocking the EUMM from entering
South Ossetia and Abkhazia."

According to the draft resolution retaining of the status quo in the
conflicts "bears the constant risk of an escalation of tensions and
a resumption of armed hostilities."

It welcomes a report by EU-funded fact-finding mission on August war,
led by Heidi Tagliavini, and says it expects extensive background
information provided by the report "can be used for legal proceedings
at the International Criminal Court and by individual citizens as
regards infringements of the European Convention on Human Rights."

The draft resolution also says that isolation of Abkhazia and South
Ossetia is "counterproductive" and in this context welcomes the
Georgian government’s strategy for engagement with the breakaway

The draft resolution recommends for setting up of "Conference on
Security and Cooperation in the South Caucasus" with the view to
develop a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus.

The document stresses that "democratisation, good governance,
political pluralism, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental
freedoms are of paramount importance" for determining EU’s future
relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

It says that EU funding and assistance to the region should be carried
out based on the principle of conditionality and calls on the European
Commission to ensure that the commitments by the Georgian government
"to inject new momentum into democratic reforms" are respected.

It also "warns against the possibility for governments to misuse
conflicts to distract the interest of the international community
from domestic issues."

The draft resolution calls on the Georgian authorities "to clarify
the situation regarding media ownership and the granting of media
licences." It also "notes the initiative of the Georgian Parliament
to extend the Public Broadcaster Board to include more opposition
and civil society representatives and expects results in this respect."

The document expresses European Parliament’s concern over "refusal"
of Europe’s leading satellite operator, Eutelsat, to host the Georgian
Public Broadcaster’s Russian-language First Caucasian Channel.

"This refusal appears to be politically motivated… This refusal
leaves de facto satellite transmission monopoly over the regional
Russian-speaking audience to [Moscow-based] Intersputnik and its
main client, Gazprom Media Group," the document says, adding that
"it is of the utmost importance that in a democratic and pluralistic
society the airing of independent media is not impeded."