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Possible outcomes of PACE resolution

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, January 29
Resolution 1916 adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on January 23, 2013, is viewed by the Georgian side as a victory. This resolution once again recalls the August 2008 War and the Russian position in particular. The document identifies the situation in the Abkhazian and South Ossetian regions as an occupation by Russia. It also repeats the demand to allow EU observation missions on those territories.

Furthermore, it also demands that the occupants allow IDPs to return to their original homes; and highlights the rights of the people to receive an education in their own native language. Most significant – the PACE resolution states to Russia about the necessity of complying to the fulfillment of the six-point plan signed right after the Georgian-Russian war that envisages the return of the Russian troops to the pre-war position.

Of course it is clear that the resolution is not an obligatory document, but rather an advisory document. However, there the wide held opinion that it represents the position of the international community and sooner or later it will yield desirable results for Georgia.

Georgian Foreign Ministry officials think that the real progress will be achieved through intensive cooperation with the Council of Europe or other international organizations.

Before the document was adopted, Georgian Dream and oppositional United National Movement (UNM) representatives were speculating about the possibility of taking out the term “occupation” from the final text of the document. However, it appeared that both parties were unanimous with regard to the use of this word to fix the situation in the regions.

It should be mentioned here that all the members of the Georgian delegation either from the ruling party or opposition, shared a common position. It appeared that it was possible to cooperate when the issue was concerning Georgia’s territorial integrity, its safety and security.

A very important aspect to the document concerns the state of IDPs. Georgia’s new leadership expressed its readiness to cooperate with Russia in different directions. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and his team promised they will try to regulate relations with Russia. Georgia has appointed a special envoy and PM Ivanishvili expressed the country’s interest in the restoration of railway lines through Abkhazia connecting Georgia and Russia.

Analysts observe however, that the regulation of relations should not be one-sided. In fact, Georgia expects that its goodwill should be followed by reciprocal steps from Russia. In one direction Russia has made a move which for sure will restore the export of Georgian agricultural products, alcohol and mineral waters to the Russian market. However, there are expectations that such business relations are within the frames of Russia’s membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

What the Georgian side expects as an adequate step from its northern neighbor with regard to the military conflict is the safe return of IDPs to their original homes. If this is not followed, the Georgian people will be frustrated not only in their relations with Russia, but towards the Georgian leadership as well.