The messenger logo

Occupation recognized by European Parliament

By Messenger Staff
Monday, January 24
On January 20, the European parliament adopted a new strategy towards the Black Sea countries. This particular document was of great significance to Georgia, because for the first time, the Parliament used the term ‘occupied territories’ in reference to Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia). Georgian analysts, as well as the ruling authorities, claim this gives extra grounds to legislate for the de occupation of these territories.

Last year in May, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the South Caucasus, where the “occupied territories” term in regards to the separatist regions of Georgia was not applied. This, of course, upset the Georgian leadership as well as the analysts. The current resolution adopted on January 20 was based on the document and report prepared by the MP from the Romanian Peoples Party, Traian Ungureanu, who very correctly and fairly evaluated the situation which is taking place in Georgia and its Russian occupied territories. His report highlights the effects of human rights' abuse in those territories; it also demands that the European parliament and EU generally should increase the pressure on Russia so that it should fulfill all the terms of the agreement of August 12, 2008. Georgian officials welcomed this resolution and Deputy FM Nino Kalandadze made a special statement at her briefing.

The Georgian side generally believes that this resolution will facilitate the legislative evaluation of the occupation and the adoption of this term in official documents strengthens the legislative grounds for de occupation. The State Minister for European Integration, Gia Baramidze, thinks that the international community should all be using the term of occupation in this context. “This resolution is one more step in this direction. It is a very significant step towards de occupation of Georgia,” said Baramidze.

MP Shota Malashkhia goes further and thinks that purely from these statements, the EP should move towards real action. He thinks that if the EU imposes certain sanctions towards Russia, it should be forced to comply with its commitments. “Ignoring the resolutions by Russia is a matter of honor for entire world. Europe should use all of its mechanisms to maintain honor. If investments stop in Russia, all of the world would not allow it to hold the Winter Olympic Games in 2014 in Sochi, then Russia will be forced to respect the civilized world,” Malashkhia stated.

Success in the direction of Abkhazia’s and so called South Ossetia’s nomination as occupied regions, will maximally stop those regions’ recognition as independent republics- analyst Irakli Sesiashvili claimed, however he is less optimistic on starting the practical de occupation process in the country, “The main aim on the first stage after August war in 2008, was disturbing the recognition process of the de facto regions , the second most important was the recognition of those regions as occupied ones by the international community. If this period passes peacefully and effectively, we will be able to finally stop the de facto region’s recognition as independent republics by foreign countries.” After the process, as the analyst mentioned, steps should be taken for the de occupation of the country,“ which would be very difficult, as there are many conflicts in the world, everyone can see who is guilty and who is not, however, those conflicts are not settled, as one side refuses to concede positions.” According to Sesiashvili “regarding the Russia situation it is more complicated due to several reasons: Russia is a member of UN’s security council and has a veto right; it is a powerful country owning nuclear weapons and even in the case of sanctions it would be very difficult to make Russia leave Georgian territories.”

However it is unlikely that the EU will take such radical steps, its strategy towards Russia is different. It looks like the EU wants Moscow to integrate more deeply with the European structures so that there would be no room for the Kremlin to take aggressive steps. Whereas today, Russia is still able to disregard its relations with rest of the world and take its own irresponsible steps.