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Georgia confirms EU Representative might go

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesady, June 8
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Davit Jalaghania held a briefing on June 7 at which he confirmed that ongoing structural changes were taking place in the European Union and the post of EU Special Representative in the South Caucasus might be abolished.

“The European Union is still discussing this issue, so it is too early to talk about confirmed information. Fundamental changes are ongoing within the EU but changes concerning Georgia are not expected until the end of the year. Georgia is observing the situation very carefully, but at present, there is no reason for concern,” the Deputy Minister stated.

Jalaghania also underlined that Georgia will react appropriately to holding the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. "The Olympic Games should stand outside politics, but holding the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi has acquired a political connotation since Russia’s occupation of Georgian territory. We know that the organisers of the Games have serious problems, as several demonstrations have already been held in Sochi against holding the Olympic Games there. Therefore we will give a serious response to the extraction of inert materials from the Black Sea coast by the Russians,” Jalaghania said.

The Deputy Minister also summarised President Mikheil Saakashvili’s visit to Romania. "Romania has definitely confirmed its support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. There was a very successful meeting at which a memorandum on scientific, technical and economic cooperation was signed. A very interesting and useful Georgian-Romanian-Azeri project on liquid gas was discussed by the Georgian President, his Romanian counterpart and other leading figures of that country,” Jalaghania stated.

Georgian analysts see dangers in the possibility that the European Union representation might be withdrawn from the South Caucasus. Gia Khukhashvili told The Messenger, "If the EU representation leaves the country this will be really regrettable, as in the present circumstances the EU’s representation in Georgia is the only one active in Georgia's conflict regions. This step would also confirm that the EU wants to avoid offending Russia and recognises the South Caucasus as part of a Russian sphere of influence in practical terms, though this is very unprofitable for Georgia,” Khukhashvili said.

Military analyst Irakli Aladashvili suggests that Georgia may find itself alone against Russian aggression. "If we look at recent history, several years ago Russia did its best to prevent the OSCE representation operating on the Georgian-Russian border and then conducted its aggression against Georgia. Despite the fact the EU observers have not been very effective here their presence has played a preventive role and their going would be negative for us. If the EU adopts the decision to recall its representation Georgia will be left alone, face-to-face with Russia and its aggression.

"Orientations and attitudes change quite frequently in politics and I am not surprised that Europe and America have decreased their support for Georgia. No one says at loud or writes that Europe or the United States are expressing less support for our country but this is quite visibly so,” Aladashvili told The Messenger.

The Messenger understands that the EU representation as a whole will remain in Georgia but the specific post of Special Representative for the South Caucasus may be abolished, as this is what the EU is currently discussing.