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Tbilisi-Kiev relations discussed at RIA Novosti

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, January 22
The controversies over the Georgian observers at the Ukraine Presidential elections were discussed at a Tbilisi-Kiev-Moscow videoconference at the RIA Novosti office on Wednesday. The participants of the conference talked about the possible effect of the incidents in Ukraine on relations between the two countries.

The observers from Georgia did not have sufficient qualifications and skills, Vadim Kolesnichenko, a Ukrainian MP from Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of the Regions, said. “The applications submitted by them contained errors,” he said. “They did not include their places of work and experience of working on elections,” he added. Kolesnichenko claimed, based on information provided by his colleagues in the Rada, the Ukrainian Parliament, that the observers’ list included the names of some of the same people who had observed the 2007 Ukraine elections. “Their job was to stage disturbances at the election precincts,” he said.

Ukraine is not against accepting international observers if they have proper qualifications and are legally registered, Deputy Chairman of its National Security Council Dmitry Vydrin said. Representative of Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc Sergey Mishchenko stated that court decisions should direct the handling of the Georgian observers situation. He claimed that the bloc has recorded number of electoral violations. “Our bloc does not think that the first round of elections was fair or that the second round will be fair,” Mishchenko said. “However we decided not to appeal against the violations revealed in the first round of the elections in order to get ready for the second round and not create a wave of protest among the voters,” he added.

The Party of the Regions is planning to demand the launching of a criminal case against Tymoshenko if it is confirmed that the voice of the woman in the taped conversation with someone alleged to be President Saakashvili is really her, Kolesnichenko said. It will also call for an investigation into who issued permission to listen in to the phone conversations of senior Georgian officials, he noted.

Yanukovich must make a clear statement on whether he will recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states if elected President, co-leader of the Conservative Party, Kakha Kukava said. “The Georgian administration is speculating with this issue and using it to create a monster out of Yanukovich through the Georgian media. Such a statement could end the hysteria being aroused in the country and become a good basis for further friendly relations between Georgia and Ukraine,” he noted.

The Georgian administration should answer all questions concerning the Georgian observers at the Ukrainian Presidential elections, including who selected them, what the criteria were for their selection and who funded their trip to Ukraine, analyst Irakli Sesiashvili said. “If these questions are not answered it will mean that behind the backs of the Georgian public the Government is pursuing a policy which endangers Georgia’s security and undermines its international image,” he said.

Sesiashvili commented on talk about Yanukovich possibly recognising Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, saying that Ukraine is a democratic state and decisions are not made without considering the opinion of the population.