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The puppets must let the mission in, Foreign Ministers say

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, April 28
During a meeting in Luxembourg all 27 Foreign Ministers of the European Union have demanded that the EU Monitoring Mission be allowed to enter Georgia's occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This information was reported by Russian online site RIA Novosti on April 27 and confirmed by Georgian Government representatives and analysts.

Russian media sources state that on April 26 the Foreign Ministers appealed to both sides to cooperate and make more attempts to create normal living conditions for those living in the conflict areas and ensure free and unlimited passage across the administrative border. The EU Monitoring Mission began work in Georgia on 1 October 2008 and its mandate runs until 14 October 2010. It was designed to conduct monitoring throughout Georgia but the Russian Government and the puppet regimes have prevented it entering the breakaway regions. The so-called Governments of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not against foreign observers but demand that the mission treats them as independent countries not parts of Georgia.

The Georgian Government regards this statement by the Foreign Ministers as extremely important and positive for Georgia. "I should point out that this was a mutual agreement by all the Foreign Ministers of the EU, which means European countries greatly support Georgia. Russia is trying to present this conflict as an inter-ethnic conflict, but Russia is an occupier. It is in Russia's interests not to let the European mission into the conflict areas, as if it monitored there all Russia's unjust activities would be recorded and once again become obvious to the world. If the EU mission is allowed into the occupied regions this will be very profitable for the Georgian side for several reasons, in terms of incident prevention and increasing the chance of those Georgian territories being reintegrated, Nugzar Tsiklauri told The Messenger.

However other Georgian analysts have made less positive statements. Irakli Aladashvili told The Messenger that "In the present circumstances conducting EU monitoring in the breakaway regions is unimaginable. The Russian Government and the de facto regimes will immediately block this initiative. Even if the mission is allowed to enter those regions this will result in no significant positive changes for Georgia or reintegrate them. Their presence will be positive for the locals, as their being there will reduce the number of provocations from Russian soldiers: I was in one of the conflict villages yesterday and can say that the people there are living in permanent fear. But in earlier periods foreign monitors including EU and OSCE ones were in both Sokhumi and Kodori and Russia paid no attention to this. Those monitors were the first to run from the conflict areas when the Russian aggression started, Aladashvili said.

Gia Khukhashvili said that such decisions are generally made after multi-faceted negotiations. "Everyone, including the EU, knows that the situation concerning the Georgian occupied regions is in a blind alley and these statements are useless. No one is against letting monitors into those regions but each side has its demands. Wide-ranging negotiations will be needed to find the way out of this situation, or letting monitors into the occupied regions will bring no significant benefit to Georgia and those regions will remain occupied. Carrying out monitoring will however be positive for the people living under continual danger, Khukhashvili told The Messenger.