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NATO PA passes resolution on the situation in Georgia

By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, November 18
In its non-binding resolution, passed on November 16, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly welcomed the constitutional reform carried out in Georgia; however it has expressed “regret” that the recommendations of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe were “not fully used” by the Georgian authorities.

While commending Georgian authorities’ efforts on further democratic reforms, “in particular, to fight corruption, build democratic institutions and engage opposition in decision making”, NATO PA has urged the Parliament and Government of Georgia to “continue efforts to strengthen the rule of law and promote democratic reforms in all areas, particularly those that further engage the opposition.” The resolution has also “welcomed” local elections of May 30 in Georgia, 2010, describing it as “competitive and democratic”. “According to international observers [local elections] marked progress towards meeting OSCE and Council of Europe commitments, despite significant remaining shortcomings,” the resolution reads.

The rest of NATO PA resolution focuses on the situation in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, reaffirming NATO member states’ “attachment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia.” NATO PA has expressed “deep concern” over the humanitarian situation on Georgia’s occupied territories and over the “ongoing denial of the right of return to Georgian populations displaced from the two regions.”

In its resolution the NATO PA urges Moscow and the de facto authorities to “reverse the results of what has been described as ethnic cleansing by the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission in the Conflict in Georgia as well as by other international documents and allow the safe and dignified return of all IDPs to their homes; to allow EUMM unimpeded access to the territory of the two regions and to ensure access to international humanitarian aid to those affected.”

Georgia is not a “perfect democracy” as well as practically any other state in the world, the MP from the ruling National Movement Party, Nugzar Tsiklauri said, commenting on NATO PA’s concerns over “not full use” of the Venice Commission recommendations. “We take these remarks as friendly remarks and we will definitely discuss the issues raised in the resolution,” he told The Messenger, adding that the Georgian side had “fruitful and intensive cooperation with the Venice Commission over the constitutional changes.”

Generally, in their comments on NATO PA’s resolution, Georgian officials, including Tskilauri have focused on the part of the document covering the situation on Georgia’s occupied territories and hailed the resolution as “yet another victory of Georgia’s diplomacy”. “The fact that the NATO PA adopted such a clear and unambiguous resolution ahead of the Lisbon NATO Summit, containing very clear messages about ethnic cleansing and Russian occupation, is the political background which Georgia needs right now,” Georgian first Deputy Foreign Minister, Giga Bokeria said.

Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Davit Bakradze, who headed the Georgian delegation at NATO PA in Warsaw, said the resolution covers “practically all painful issues for Georgia.” He praised the resolution as “one of the clearest and most positive documents which has recently been passed by international organisations.”

Some Georgian analysts suggest the NATO PA resolution indicates an improvement of the relations between the West and Russia “will not happen at the expense of Georgia.” “It is an important document. Although this institution (NATO PA) is not NATO structure directly, however its members represent the official position of NATO states,” analyst Nika Chitadze said “in the long-term, prospects from such resolutions might even become a basis for starting de-occupation process,” he added.

Political analyst, Irakli Menagarishvili, meanwhile has expressed his hopes that the Georgian leadership will take into account all points of the NATO PA resolution. “The support expressed in the document is important, as well as those notes included in the resolution. I hope that all elements of the document will be considered adequately by the society and the government,” Menagarishvili stated.