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Western support continuous

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, February 11
The 45th Munich Conference on Security Issues reaffirmed once again that the world recognizes the post-August 2008 war reality. Russia continues to occupy Georgian territory and conduct a military build up there, and this is what is happening in the real world, regardless of what words anyone wishes to use.

The West, on its side, confirmed its support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It has been made clear that this issue is one of the main points of confrontation between the West and Russia when they discuss the subject of a new European security architecture. No reconciliation between the two sides took place in Munich. Rather the contrary, the Georgia issue became the cornerstone of differences.

Very interesting was the speech of US Vice-President Joe Biden, which was understood by many as a declaration of some key points of US foreign policy direction under the Obama administration. Biden highlighted the necessity of cooperation with Russia but underlined the US position. “We will not agree with Russia on everything. For example, the United States will not recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. We will not recognize a sphere of influence. It will remain our view that sovereign states have the right to make their own decisions and choose their own alliances,” he said

Georgian politicians immediately responded to this statement by interpreting it as open support for our country. Georgians also found encouraging the positions of the leaders of France and Germany. Both of them confirmed the Bucharest summit decision that Georgia and Ukraine will become NATO members and that no third country (meaning Russia) has the right to influence this decision. Moscow’s plans to build the military bases on Georgian territory were condemned by the EU and NATO leadership.

Although Europe’s position was clear and everyone negatively assessed Russian aggression the Northern Bear stubbornly carries out its imperialistic policy ignoring international legislation and norms of conduct. “The military bases will stay according to the bilateral agreements … The decision on recognition of these countries is irreversible,” stated Russian Vice-Premier Sergei Ivanov. Let us hope however that there is always room for bargaining. Moscow is ready to give up installing Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad if the USA refuses to install anti-missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. Maybe therefore the West can offer a carrot acceptable to all sides before either feels obliged to use a stick.

However including Moscow in any new security system is highly controversial. Some, like Merkel and Sarkozy, support this idea but the NATO Secretary General thinks otherwise, as Russia is building military bases on Georgian territory against the will of the sovereign state. Clearly this difference of approach is likely to solidify in months to come, as each side pursues its own divergent interest vis-a-vis Russia. Consequently, although Georgia has verbal support from Europe, there is a little hope that this support will materialize into anything of practical simportance, at least for the time being.