ROAR: PACE overcomes “Russian-Georgian deadlock”

The fate of the so-called Russian-Georgian dossier considered by Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe may well be solved by the end of year and may be “closed,” Russian deputies at PACE say.

The Russian parliament’s delegation attending the current session has noted the change in the assembly’s attitude to the issue of relations between Moscow and Tbilisi.

“Russia is celebrating a political success at PACE, and Poland – a personnel one, as Wojciech Sawicki has become the assembly’s new secretary general,” Kommersant daily said.

According to the deputy head of the Russian delegation, Leonid Slutsky, the situation around the Russian-Georgian dossier is no longer deadlocked. “Until the end of year the assembly will hold a large-scale conference to decide the fate of the debate on the results of the August 2008 war, and most likely it will be closed,” the paper said.

“The Russian-Georgian dossier is the most sensitive issue for Moscow, and it has been regularly discussed at the PACE session since autumn 2008,” the daily said.

The members of the assembly have considered the causes and results of the conflict five times and voted twice on the issue of depriving Russia of the right to vote in this consultative body of the Council of Europe, the paper noted.

“The first positive signals for Moscow began to appear after the election of Turkish MP Mevlut Cavusoglu as PACE president,” it said. Since then, the rhetoric about Russia has noticeably softened, and the delegates decided at the spring session in April not to adopt a traditional resolution on Moscow’s necessary withdrawal of its recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“We are satisfied with the course of the current meeting,” Slutsky told the paper. Dick Marty of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights “has managed to offer a way out of the deadlock around the Russian-Georgian dossier,” he stressed.

According to Slutsky, earlier Georgians at the PACE did not accept some rapporteurs on the issue, and Moscow “did not want to see some marginal delegates promoted the Georgian delegation.” The forthcoming conference may remove many questions regarding the current debate.

After the European Union mission prepared a report on the consequences of events in South Ossetia, it became senseless to work on additional reports within the dossier, Slutsky told Itar-Tass agency.

The Russian deputies also raised the issue of Tbilisi’s denial of entry to State Duma deputy Sergey Markov who had wanted to take part in the meeting of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights held in Georgia.

Tbilisi, in accordance with its policies, issued visas only to those deputies who had not visited Abkhazia and South Ossetia. After the incident, the whole Russian delegation cancelled its visit. “The members of the Russian delegation do not rule out that Georgia will be banned from holding PACE meetings,” Kommersant said.

The change of PACE’s attitude to Georgia can be explained by the “pragmatic interests of Western countries,” deputy director of the Institute for International Studies Viktor Mizin said. “The West’s political and economic elite has a rather good attitude to Russia,” he told Rosbalt news agency. “It is not only oil and gas, and many understand that it is impossible to solve serious international problems without Russia.”

The PACE has made the choice “not to spoil relations with Russia because a neighboring country is trying to solve its issues,” Mizin said.

It could be said that Russia “has won a round at the PACE, and now it is necessary to continue strengthening its positions in the assembly, countering different attacks,” the analyst noted.

At the same time, it is clear that Europe, taking into account political considerations, will not abandon the dialogue with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, “and he is using this,” Rosbalt said. “But Russia also should not worry about the fact that…the West will not cease to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as part of Georgia in the near future.”

Anyway, the Russian-Georgian relations have not become the topical issue at the latest PACE session. The delegates supported the recent constitutional reform in Ukraine, but “condemned Kiev for human rights violations,” Kommersant said.

The recent decision of Ukraine’s Constitutional Court to restore the presidential-parliamentary form of rule in Ukraine aroused many questions at PACE, Konstantin Kosachev, head of the State Duma International Affairs Committee, told Itar-Tass. The Ukrainian opposition had actively worked in the PACE corridors “to influence the minds of its politicians,” he noted.

Kosachev described the resolution on Ukraine as “balanced” and “on the whole acceptable for various political forces.”

However, PACE noted that the consolidation of power in the hands of a new administration in Ukraine should not lead to monopolization of power by one political force.

Sergey Borisov,
Russian Opinion and Analysis Review, RT