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How can the OSCE return to Georgia?

By Messenger Staff
Monday, November 2
After committing the international crime of occupying Georgian territories Russia is trying to get rid of all international observers there. Moscow vetoed the OSCE monitoring mission’s presence in Tskhinvali region and made it leave the country. The Kremlin does not want any witnesses to its ethnic cleansing and human rights abuses, to say nothing of its hasty militarisation of the region. That’s why it is trying its best to prevent the OSCE returning to Georgia. It is blackmailing this organisation, trying to force it to recognise its illegal entities as independent states, and only on this condition will it allow the OSCE monitors to work there.

The EU, USA and the international community in general do not want to put up with Russia’s arrogant behaviour. The Acting Chair of the OSCE, Greek PM Georgios Papandreou, has stated that he is committed to ensuring that an OSCE mission returns to Georgia. US Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon also recently supported this idea. However they all have to overcome the Kremlin’s resistance. Papandreou stated that the world should not ignore so-called frozen conflicts as the world needs peace and stability. People suffer from such conflicts, and he assured the international community that the OSCE will do its best to return to Georgia.

The Georgian authorities have hailed the OSCE Chair’s position, highlighting that Georgia and the whole world are interested in such moves being taken. However Moscow is resisting such developments and all methods, political as well as diplomatic, should be used to force Russia to change its position, said State Minister of European and Euro-Atlantic integration Giorgi Baramidze. He added that Russia should be made to realise that exercising its veto rights and ousting the OSCE from Georgia could cost it very dear.

However Russia” does not understand” that its position is destructive, and it continues to conduct aggression against sovereign Georgia, sometimes subtly through a campaign of discrediting and sometimes openly, aggressively. Russia has created an absurd situation in which it says that it will allow the OSCE to return to the Tskhinvali region but only on condition that South Ossetia is recognised as independent by this international organisation. This condition is absolutely unacceptable for the OSCE or other countries and for Georgia most of all. Philip Gordon has underlined that the OSCE’s return to Georgia should not take place at the expense of Georgia’s territorial integrity. These words were encouraging for Georgians, they read them as a commitment from the USA to conduct serious negotiations with Moscow, though it has already been doing so for a while with no visible result.

Today it is difficult to guess what kind of format and mandate the OSCE could be given which would enable it to return to Georgia. If it is only a matter of its name the mission could have a neutral title. Analyst Archil Gegeshidze thinks that it should not have a territorial designation, not being described as a mission to Georgia, Abkhazia or South Ossetia. However this is not exactly what Georgia wants to see happen, because if the word Georgia is not part of the name of the mission this would mean that the country has taken a step backwards politically, as the name must signify that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are parts of Georgia. But maybe some more flexible formula could be found, which will enable the mission to return in some guise.