Georgia Won’t Refuse of Territorial Integrity to Prolong OSCE Mandate

On January 15th Georgian State Minister for Reintegration Temur Iakobashvili declared to reporters, that Georgia will refuse to prolong the OSCE mission in Georgia, provided it demands to violate territorial integrity of the country. “It’s important for us to save OSCE mission in our country. But there are more significant values, fundamental principles like territorial integrity. So we’ll never accept the mandate that would ruin these principles. If Russia changes its decision and chooses the formulation, that would not violate these principles, we’ll agree on it.  But we disagree with purely formal presence of the OSCE mission with another name and format”, - stated Iakobashvili. 

“Russia is an invader state and it strives to minimize the role of international organizations in the life of our country. Naturally, we have absolutely opposite objectives. And if Russia is able to block OSCE mission at all, it won’t be able to do this with the kind of mission as the EU mission”, noted State Minister. Georgian State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze shared the same ideas with reporters, specifying that Georgia relies on EU mission opening, in case the OSCE mission will be completely blocked by Russia.

Let us recall, that in December 2008 Russia vetoed the prolongation of OSCE mission mandate in Georgia. Eventually, the mission is closing down at the moment. Moscow insists on modification of the mission, “that should consider new reality formed after the war in August”. In particular, Russian diplomats demand individual mandate for OSCE field offices in South Ossetia independent of the Tbilisi office of the mission. Russia confirmed this line during the session of the OSCE Permanent Council held on January 15th. As expected, Georgia will use these several months of mission withdrawal to negotiate the compromise to prolong the OSCE mission in Georgia.

Reminding, that according to Sarkozy-Medvedev plan supplementary agreements, Russian military units were replaced by the EU monitoring mission within so-called buffer zones bordering South Assetia and Abkhazia on October 1st, 2008. The sending of about 200 EU observers to these zones was officially approved during the summit of Foreign Affairs Ministers of EU states in Brussels in the middle of September. The mission includes policemen, soldiers, law and human rights protection experts. Their objective is to control the performance of Medvedev-Sarkozy peacekeeping plan, and to guarantee public order, secure return of refugees and displaced people.

Translated from  REGNUM