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Georgian parliament adopts foreign policy resolution excluding restoration of relations with Russia

March 11, 2013, 10:58 UTC+3
For the first time over the Georgian six-months’opposition of President Michael Saakashvili and PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, the opponents came to a consensus on an important issue
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For the first time over the Georgian six-months’ opposition of President Michael Saakashvili and Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, the opponents came to a consensus on an important issue. The country’s parliament adopted unanimously a resolution “On the basic directions of foreign policy,” which confirms succession of the trend for joining NATO and EU. Moreover, the document has an item, which, in reality, excludes restoration of Georgia’s diplomatic relations with Russia: this may put an end to a prompt settlement of the situation between Moscow and Tbilisi. However, experts are not likely to overestimate the importance of this resolution.

On one hand, the resolution fixes continuing West-oriented and “de-occupation” trend – return of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. On the other hand, it states a necessary constructive dialogue with Moscow, the Izvestia daily says. The previous concept of the national security, adopted back in 2012, called Russia the “major threat,” the newspaper says.

The parliament’s Deputy Speaker, representing Saakashvili’s party, Georgy Baramidze speaks about “great mistakes” over drafting the document. For example, it does not fix refrain from Georgia’s return to the CIS. The document does not mention either that Tbilisi will not join either the Eurasian of the Customs Union, or CSTO.

Main tasks of Georgia’s foreign policy are declared to be “guarantees of its security; protection of independence, sovereignty; de-occupation of the territories and restoration of the territory integrity inside the internationally approved borders,” the Kommersant writes. Joining NATO and EU still remains among the “major priorities.” The resolution reads that Georgia will be negotiating with NATO and EU “the modality and terms” of a full-fledged membership. Meanwhile, it plans to “continue participation in international peacekeeping, police and civil operations.”

The resolution refers to the US as a “strategic ally,” with which Georgia “will develop relations in compliance with the Charter of strategic partnership,” inked in 2008. This includes relations in “the sphere of defence and security – for improvement of Georgia’s defence abilities and for preparations for joining NATO.”

In the resolution’s 19 items, only three mention Russia directly or indirectly. Thus, Tbilisi will have a dialogue with Moscow in order to “settle the conflict, establish the relations of good neighbourhood and to develop them.” The process will go in the framework of “the international mechanisms in Geneva and in the bilateral format.” Instead of the suggestion from the prime minister’s supporters that Tbilisi “will not be trying to case disputes between the US, EU and RF,” the final version reads: “Georgia will favour closer positions between the US, EU and Russia in the North Caucasus in accordance with the state interests of the country and the principles of the Helsinki Agreement.”

The Kommersant writes that the most important thing is that the resolution literally bans resumption of diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation. “Georgia cannot have diplomatic relations with countries, which recognise independence of Abkhazia and the Tskhinval region /South Ossetia/,” the document states. The same item excludes Georgia’s joining “military-political or customs unions” with the said countries. The deputies do not hide they mead the CIS, CSTO, the Eurasian and Customs unions.

Some experts say the resolution puts an end to a possible settlement of the Russian-Georgian relations, which Bidzina Ivanishvili has announced among his priorities. However, the ruling coalition advises not to pay too much attention to the document. “It will not in any way impede the development of culture and economic relations with the Russian Federation, and the establishment of the general dialogue,” the newspaper refers to a member of the Georgian Dream Party, former Ambassador to OSCE Viktor Dolidze. Besides, he said, “under the current political and military conditions, it is impossible to restore diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation.”

Independent experts even advise not to take the document seriously. “I have seen lots of papers of the kind over the past 20 years,” Head of the Diplomatic Academy Iosif Tsintsadze said. “Coming months will show, whether this declarations is worth more than the paper used to print it.”


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