Friday, August 29, 2008

Georgia Breaks its ties with Russia

According to the recent news Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia has asked Russian diplomats to leave Tbilisi, as Georgia is cutting its diplomatic ties with Russia.


Van said...

Georgia to sever diplomatic ties with Russia

TBILISI, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Georgia is recalling its embassy staff in Russia and cutting off diplomatic ties with Moscow in response to its recognition of two breakaway Georgian regions, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze said Friday.

Vashadze said the government is implementing a parliament resolution passed a day earlier, which included a call for the government to sever ties with Russia, the Caucasus Press news agency reported.

A Georgian Foreign Ministry spokesman said his country will withdraw its staff from Moscow on Saturday, but a consul will remain in Russia.

Russian news agencies have cited Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nestrenko as criticizing the move and saying it will not benefit bilateral relations.

"We regret that the Georgian side has taken this step," Nesterenko said.

"The possible end of diplomatic relations with Georgia is not the choice of Moscow, and Tbilisi will have to bear the entire responsibility," said the diplomat.

"We must maintain contacts in the sphere of interests of average citizens," he said, adding that it will take a lot of efforts to restore bilateral relations.

Georgia's announcement comes on the heels of its decision to withdraw all but two diplomats from its embassy in Moscow after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev decided to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states earlier this week.

The two regions broke from central Georgian rule during wars in the early 1990s.

Georgia, a former Soviet republic and a staunch U.S. ally, has long been at odds with Russia over the two breakaway regions and its own bids to join NATO and the European Union.

Earlier this month, Georgia sent in troops to reclaim South Ossetia, triggering a military counter-offensive from Russia. The conflict ended with a ceasefire agreement between Tbilisi and Moscow brokered by France.

Faza said...

This is a very good article. This is showing where the whole issue has ignited. In my opinion, at least. Read and enjoy

Abkhazia-Georgia, Kosovo-Serbia: parallel worlds?
Zeyno Baran
Thomas de Waal

In the Caucasus and the Balkans, two territories whose people broke free through war from a larger state their peoples saw as oppressive are now in constitutional limbo. What future have Kosovo Albanians and Abkhazians earned – independence, autonomy, federation? What justice is owed to their Serb and Georgian neighbours and former neighbours? Thomas de Waal and Zeyno Baran debate these issues.2 - 08 - 2006

Thomas de Waal, journalist and Caucasus expert: A fresh look
Zeyno Baran, Hudson Institute: Two different cases
Thomas de Waal: The sovereignty option
Zeyno Baran, Hudson Institute: Stability is the key

Thomas de Waal, journalist and Caucasus expert

A fresh look

Dear Zeyno,

I'm glad of the opportunity to pursue at greater length a debate we began in the Financial Times in May 2006 about Kosovo and the Caucasus.

It's a good moment to do so. United Nations-sponsored talks have at last begun on the final constitutional status of Kosovo and many western officials are openly saying they will end with Kosovo becoming independent of Serbia.

Moreover, these are worrying times in Georgia. The two moderate voices in the negotiations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia have been sidelined: Irakli Alasania, former senior presidential aide for Georgian-Abkhaz relations, was confirmed as Georgia's new ambassador to the United Nations on 18 July; and Giorgi Khaindrava, former minister for conflict resolution, was sacked on 21 July. The result of these maneouvres at the heart of Mikheil Saakashvili's government is to leave the bellicose, ambitious defence minister Irakli Okruashvili in charge of negotiating a settlement with Abkhazia and South Ossetia – at the very time that a fresh armed crisis has been brewing in the contested Kodori Gorge region inside Abkhaz territory.

Many western observers say that Kosovo is a special case. I disagree. Events set precedents, whether international leaders like it or not, and it's best to be prepared for them. The granting of independence for Kosovo – especially if it occurs without the consent of Serbia – will be a big event in international affairs. Let's hope that the final-status arrangement will protect the Serb minority and make the Balkans more stable. An outcome that grants independence on less rigorous terms would merely look like a reward for Kosovo's loyalty to the west.

Thomas de Waal is Caucasus editor of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting in London. He is co-author (with Carlotta Gall) of Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus (New York University Press, 1998) and author of Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through peace and war (New York University Press, 2003)

Also by Thomas de Waal in openDemocracy:

"The north Caucasus: politics or war"
(7 September 2004)

"Musa Shanib in the Caucasus: a political odyssey"
(12 October 2005)

"Abkhazia's dream of freedom"
(10 May 2006)

Thomas de Waal also writes on the connection between Kosovo and Abkhazia in "The Kosovo talks are about much more than just Kosovo" (Financial Times, 10 May 2006); Zeyno Baran's reply, "Kosovo precedent no solution for Caucasus region" was published in the same paper on 17 May [subscription only]
Now let's consider Abkhazia. It is true that all conflicts are different, yet there is a basic similarity: two minority peoples felt imprisoned inside a newly independent state against their will, after the break-up of a communist-era multi-ethnic federation.

I don't see a moral difference here. The sacking of Sukhumi/Sukhum in 1992 by Georgian irregular forces, including the deliberate burning of the Abkhaz national archive, was as despicable as the behaviour of Slobodan Milosevic's forces in Kosovo in 1998-99. And the other side of the coin – the vengeful ethnic cleansing of Georgians and Kosovo Serbs by victorious Abkhaz and Kosovo Albanians – is just as regrettable.

It is clear that Kosovo has advanced further in terms of its democratic institutions, but Abkhazia is performing well by the standards of the Caucasus. It has a president elected after an extremely demanding process, an opposition, a relatively free media and a strong civil-society sector. The Georgian minority in the Gali/Gal region has schooling in the Georgian language.

I see three differences on the ground:

the pre-war population of Kosovo had a clear Albanian majority, whereas in Abkhazia - a land of minorities - only around 17% of the population was Abkhaz and as much as 45% of the population was Georgian
Kosovo's overall population (2.5 million) is much bigger than Abkhazia's (around 250,000), making it a more viable potential state
under UN Security Council resolution 1244 of June 1999 (which actually reaffirms the territorial integrity of Serbia), Kosovo was placed under UN administration.
These factors give Kosovo a stronger case. But I am not arguing that Abkhazia will necessarily become independent – some kind of treaty arrangement may be the best final option. What I am arguing is that the Abkhaz have the right to make their case and that no final-status option should be ruled out in the negotiations.

Observing at first hand the unresolved conflicts of the Caucasus for the past decade, I have had an increasing feeling of surreality. The separatist territories have de facto broken away. Modern Abkhazia has nothing to do with modern Georgia and indeed is slowly being sucked into Russia – against the will of many of its citizens. The Abkhaz will agree to almost anything except a "return" to a state they have never felt part of. Meanwhile the Georgian position rests on one fundamental point: their territorial integrity of the modern state of Georgia within the borders of the old Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The result is complete deadlock and hundreds of thousands of people living as miserable hostages to this deadlock.

My argument is that if we look at the conundrum anew, focusing on the right of Abkhazia to make an argument for sovereignty on the one hand and the right of return of the 250,000 Georgian internally-displaced people (IDPs) on the other, then we will have a much more positive and realistic process, which could end the agony. As in Kosovo.

Best wishes,


Karen said...

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Georgian soldier (AFP Photo / Marco Longari)August 25, 2008, 15:18
Georgia plans to attack Abkhazia - Russia
Russia has information that Georgia is planning a military attack on Abkhazia to seize the capital Sukhumi, the Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff, Colonel General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, told a media briefing in Moscow on Monday. He said that the military potential of Georgia was being restored for a repeated act of aggression.

"We have received serious intelligence information, and we shall discuss in detail the Georgian-Abkhazian direction on Tuesday," he said.

"The information is serious. If many media outlets still see Russia as the aggressor in the South Ossetian direction, the plan for seizing Sukhumi is so clear that we shall be able to prove that Georgia was the aggressor in the second direction as well," he added.

Nogovitsyn said that according to the South Ossetian parliament, Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia claimed the lives of 2,100 civilians.

Russia is ready to provide substantial evidence in international courts that it was Georgia that initiated the aggression in the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict zone, said Nogovitsyn.

He also added that the situation around Abkhazia and South Ossetia "is changing rather quickly".

He announced the Russian side is performing peacekeeping functions near the port of Poti in strict compliance with the six principles agreed by the Russian and French presidents, Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy.

He said Russia will not exceed the number of its peacekeepers in South Ossetia defined by international agreements, adding it’s “a matter of principle” for Russia.

At the same time Russia will not allow air reconnaissance activities in the area of responsibility of Russian peacekeepers in the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict zone, Nogovitsyn said - "I am just giving warning that we will not allow Georgia to conduct reconnaissance work with impunity. We reserve the right to respond appropriately."

Nogovitsyn said that NATO member countries are continuing to build up a naval group in the Black Sea, and currently there are nine vessels belonging to the alliance, including two from the U.S., one from Spain, Germany and Poland each, and four from Turkey.

"These actions are increasing the degree of tension in the region," stressed Nogovitsyn.

BBX said...

Yeah, not real good...But can anybody predict about what will happen to these places in GEORGIA. Seems like it's another long story about territories and independence.

Zarema said...

I agree, and like in Middle East - endless meetings and conferences and all the things fall apart gain and again

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