Words versus action becomes the key battleground
By David Matsaberidze
Monday, September 1
The upcoming EU Summit is the centre of international attention. Georgia waits for supportive statements and decisions, although experts predict that the summit will only discuss the Georgia-Russia conflict without producing tangible results. The Prime Minister of the Russian Federation has already commented on the summit, stating that “the Russian Federation and its leadership will not be indifferent towards EU decisions.” Putin expressed his hope for an “objective and appropriate analysis” of recent developments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The Georgian side will be represented at the EU Summit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Speaker of Parliament and Minister for Reintegration Affairs. Reportedly, divergent Italian and Polish models of future EU-Russian relations will be discussed to see whether either, or a combination of both, provides the most appropriate format for future official co-operation.
Western politicians have made clear their dissatisfaction with Russia even before the summit begins. The Foreign Secretary of Great Britain, David Miliband, has stated that Georgia and Ukraine could both receive a NATO Membership Action Plan before the next NATO ministerial meeting, scheduled for December. As Miliband declared after a special meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Ogrizko, “the foreign ministers of NATO member countries have clear directives and positions for the December meeting, but there is no decision which cannot be reviewed and changed.” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, said that Russia's “naked aggression” against Georgia raised two “urgent questions” which should be addressed at EU Summit: how best to stabilize Georgia and how to make it clear to Russia that its unilateral approach is “dangerous and unacceptable.” “At tomorrow's European summit in Brussels we will first unite to alleviate the suffering of the 100,000 Georgian civilians left without homes,” Brown stressed on August 31, Civil Georgia reports.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of Poland Lech Kachinski have also discussed Georgian-Russian relations and the possibility of creating a joint anti-Russian front once more. Reportedly they agreed over the necessity of full implementation of the six point agreement and expressed a readiness to send humanitarian aid to Georgia.
The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told the British premier on August 30 that Russia wants to hold constructive talks with the EU and international organisations on the Georgian crisis. Medvedev stated that Russia has urged “unbiased international monitoring” of the current Georgian leadership and was looking for “constructive dialogue with the EU and other international organizations.” The meeting with Gordon Brown was held at the initiative of the British Government. The Russian President claimed that Russia was “fully implementing” the six-point French-brokered peace deal signed in mid-August.
However the Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has stated that the South Ossetian conflict was inspired and provoked by the US. According to Putin the war was designed to increase the poll ratings of one of the Presidential candidate in the upcoming US elections. He went even further, stating that US military advisors were sent to the conflict zone to intensify provocation of the conflict. The White House reacted immediately to these accusations. Its representative Dano Perino, stated that “Vladimir Putin was improperly advised by his military advisors” and termed the accusation as irrational. Experts have also drawn parallels between recent statements of Putin and those of Soviet leaders back in the 20th century.
Experts await for further deterioration of US-Russian relations, stressing that Putin’s political mistakes and irresponsible statements are the sole reason for this.