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Lukashenko as Russian proxy in CIS invite?

By Messenger Staff
Friday, January 18
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has repeatedly invited Georgia to rejoin the CIS. Recently, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili invited Lukashenko to visit Georgia and most probably this issue will once again be laid-out on the table. This is very interesting because President Saakashvili has accused the current Georgian government of being pro-Russian, while the latter categorically denies the possibility of returning to the CIS, repeatedly highlighting its commitment to European institutions and NATO accession.

With Eduard Shevardnadze at the helm, Georgia joined the CIS in 1993 after being defeated in a war with Russia over Abkhazian territory. Shevardnadze did so hoping this step would safeguard Georgia’s reintegration with its breakaway territory, but this move failed to produce the desired results. Russian-supported separatists continued their subversive activities, prompting Georgia to reconsider its CIS membership.

In 2008 things became clear when Russia openly occupied Georgian territories. Of course Georgia’s withdrawal from the CIS created a certain discomfort for Moscow. Therefore, after the October 1 parliamentary elections in 2012, Moscow became hopeful that the new Georgian leadership might consider returning to CIS.

The Kremlin does not want to directly negotiate on this issue with Georgia so instead uses the Lukashenko government as a proxy instead.

The Belarusian president has actively promoted this issue as of late, stating that if Georgia does not want to join the CIS, it means that some force (presumably the West or the United States) are creating obstacles for Georgia in this regard.

The position of the Belarusian President is strange because he should realize that first of all by attacking Georgia Russia violated essential principle of the CIS - to solve all the problems in a peaceful way and thus unless Georgian territorial integrity is restored the issue cannot be touched at all.

Meanwhile, the Belarusian President is heading the CIS and he recently aired information suggesting that President Saakashvili invited him to Georgia and in the near future he plans to carry out this visit and meet with both the president and Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze responded to Lukashenko’s statement on January 16, briefly saying that the only political union Georgia is targeting is the European Union, adding that Georgia also hopes to become a NATO member, otherwise Georgia is not interested in any other unions.

The positions of the two sides are clear. Only one particular person’s opinion – President Saakashvili’s, remains unclear. Why did he invite the Belarusian president to Georgia?