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EU Policy and South Caucasus

By Messenger Staff
Friday, April 15
The resolution adopted by the European Parliament recently concerning the neighborhood policy created controversy among different parties of the south Caucasus region as well as in Moscow. Some saw it as an expression of willingness from the EP to establish relations with non recognized de facto regimes, causing huge enthusiasm among the separatists and their supporters. But on the other hand this caused a feeling of frustration in the countries suffering from the separatism, mainly in Azerbaijan and of course here in Georgia. However Tbilisi has not made any official statements concerning the issue so far. The adoption of this document was preceded by the research carried out by the European political centre in Brussels (EPC) and London analytical centre (LINKS). The report was prepared based on the research of two institutions which highlighted different recommendations for diplomatic efforts. The major target is to achieve the adoption of a special document on security and cooperation in the South Caucasus by 2014. But the wording of such a document is never likely to satisfy all parties concerned. The 47th Paragraph of the adopted resolution includes the item of deeper involvement in settling some everlasting conflicts which according to recommendation should be based on certain principles such as non use of force, self determination and territorial integrity. It also recommends activating efforts in this direction.

Confusion is caused by certain principles of this recommendation. According to international law the principles of self determination and territorial integrity obviously contradict each other and are incompatible under the current sircumstances. So, different players interpreted these principles differently in their favour. Some highlight the principle of self determination and some territorial integrity. For instance the Sokhumi separatist regime of Abkhazia, the Kremlin puppet state, made a statement highlighting the principle of self determination of the nation. Sokhumi expressed its hope that conflict resolutions in the Caucasus region should be based on a principle of self determination. How this concept will fit another condition of the European Parliament, namely that regarding that of territorial integrity, is absolutely unclear. The EP resolution recommended taking some other rather unclear steps. These are unofficial contacts and consultations with communities of breakaway regions. How this should be implemented and what it means in reality is quite unclear. The separatist regimes in Georgia of Abkhazia and so called South Ossetia welcomed that approach, interpreting these as ways of establishing regular contact with the EU's different bodies and a means of establishing and developing democratic civil society in the breakaway regions as well as creating a favourable climate for resolving conflicts.

The Armenian side is also quite enthusiastic about the document, presenting this type of document as a victory of Armenia’s diplomacy. There are some other controversies as well, which gives ground to diverse interpretation and it is unclear what exactly this document will yield in the end. Particularly, how this document sees the issue of territorial integrity of Georgia and Azerbaijan.