Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Expert: Georgia quits CIS, tries to save face

Эксперт: Грузия выходит из СНГ, стремясь сохранить лицо

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili declared the withdrawal of Georgia from the CIS in order to save face. The analysis was made by Vadim Mukhanov, senior researcher at the Foreign Ministry's Caucasus Research Center at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations, in an interview with an IA Regnum correspondent on August 12th.

"Saakashvili's decision to withdraw Georgia from the CIS is easy to explain. This is just one of his PR weapons in his anti-Russia arsenal. In this case, it's clear that Georgia, in its collision with Russia, has suffered a shattering defeat, and the failure of its military campaign is obvious. Saakashvili had to do something to help him save face, and one way was to withdraw Georgia from the structure of the CIS. It was done with the aim of demonstrating that Georgia would not cooperate with Russia within the framework of this organization. At the present moment, when Georgian-Russian relations are almost non-existent, Saakashvili is burning bridges and demonstrating his hard line position in his struggle to gain the sympathies of the West," asserted the expert.

"As we know, Ukraine actively supported Georgia during the conflict, and we can't exclude the possibility that Mikhail Saakashvili is counting on his diplomatic finesse to receive support from Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its leaders. It is quite probable that Saakashvili is also hoping that even other members of the Commonwealth [of CIS] can support him. Though, in my opinion, it is unlikely," noted the political scientist.

Speaking about the possibility of Tbilisi participating in various CIS initiatives, Mukhanov expressed his opinion that Tbilisi, by withdrawing from the Commonwealth, is leaving all projects which work within the framework of the Commonwealth. "Since this will occur unilaterally, all agreements, which were written in the framework of the CIS, will be voided," noted the expert.

Commenting on Saakashvili's statement that Georgia will cancel all agreements on conducting peacekeeping operations in the conflict zone, Mukhanov said: "The peacekeepers share the two sides of the conflict; the joint peacekeeping forces, if not allowed by Georgia to participate in its operations, will withdraw to Abkhazia and South Ossetia and continue to perform their functions there--as the other parties to the conflict obviously have not rejected Russian peacekeepers on their own territory. Thus, the peacekeepers won't go anywhere," summarized Vadim Mukhanov.

Let's remember that at a demonstration in Tbilisi on August 12th, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili stated that Georgia would withdraw from the CIS on the pretext that this organization is "operated by Russia." Saakashvili also said that Tbilisi rescinds all of its agreements which concern conducting peacekeeping operations in the conflict zone.

IA Regnum

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