Monday, August 8, 2011

Week 1-7 August: Who's who?

Or who's WTO?
Georgia is, Russia not, Swiss mediates.

Three years passed since war erupted in Tskhinvali district and invasion started in western Georgia.
Then recognition, political stalemate and so far incompatible solutions, proposed by Georgia and Russia:
- Non use of force vs recognition (how to write a non use of force agreement with authorities who are not recognized as legitimate?);
- Returnees vs security (and demography...);
- Political will vs propaganda (and domestic consensus);
- Internationalization vs "spheres of influence";
And so on and on and on.
So may the Geneva Discussions last forever, and so EUMM?

Apparently yes.
What cannot last forever is the process of access to WTO. And Russia is waiting. WTO is waiting. And none of them likes to be kept waiting.
One obstacle was the Russia-Bielorus'-Kazakhstan agreement. But it seems not to be an issue any longer.
The other obstacle is Georgia's possible veto. In view of the international recognition of its border, it's a legitimate claim.
And, unless this will have the counter-effect to push more states towards recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which doesn't happen to be the case, it puts Georgia in the position to be the one who can tip the scale.

Medvedev, interviewed on the 5th talked mildly but firmly about this issue:
"Georgia has a position on Russia’s WTO accession. We respect that position as we respect the stance of any other sovereign state, as long as that position is in line with the goals set out in the WTO’s charter. Trade, trade preferences, customs regimes… we are ready to discuss it all. The imports of wine and mineral water? We will discuss anything. But the problem is something else. In essence, our colleagues in Georgia are trying to force on us a new edition of the political problem under the guise of WTO accession. I am referring to entry points, control over the traffic of goods, then they will want to get the EU involved… Our position on this is clear: if you want information about the traffic of goods, including transit through Abkhazia and South Ossetia, we will provide it via a modern electronic database. I have agreed to the suggestions made by the Swiss president regarding this and I recently discussed it with President Obama. We are ready to implement the model that Switzerland has proposed to us. However, if they try to change current political realities, serving it as a prerequisite for Russia’s WTO accession, we will not fall for it. WTO accession is not too high a price to pay here."
(full interview

Three rounds of negotiation took place in Switzerland.
A conciliatory result there could open the floor to more flexible positions in other fields.
Three years, no humanitarian issues measure agreed.
Whatever may shake this condition, should be welcome.

No shakes are welcome, on the contrary, between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Three violations of ceasefire claimed by Azerbaijan in three days. Disturbing allegations of a toy bomb targeted against children.
So, in the end, who's doing what?
Without a neutral monitor, it's hard to assess.

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