Georgian Occupied Regions Security Threat for Europe?

Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Dondua last week met EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia, Herbert Salber.

During the meeting on Friday, the parties discussed outcomes of the 34th round of the Geneva International Discussions and issues on the agenda of the next round.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Deputy Minister Dondua underlined the importance of achieving progress on the main issues on the negotiating table, highlighting the necessity of setting up international security arrangements in the occupied regions. He focused his attention on the need to respect the format, agenda and procedures of the Geneva Talks.

Dondua also emphasized the need to restore, without any precondition, the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism in Gali (a district in Abkhazia populated by Georgians). He said this will considerably contribute to strengthening security and stability on the ground, as well as confidence-building and maintaining a positive dynamic in the process of negotiations.

Meanwhile, Pedro Agramunt, who has been elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), in his speech emphasized that fighting against international terrorism, coping with the refugee crisis and solving the frozen conflicts inside Europe are his priorities.

“Threats to security and frozen conflicts still exist in the regions of Transnistria, Republic of Moldova, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia, and Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan,” Agramunt pointed out in his speech, adding that conflicts in Europe still remain unsolved and the situation is still fragile in Ukraine. “That conflict alone has claimed more than 9000 lives. Separatists, backed by Russia, still control a part of the country. Peace has still not been achieved.”

‘We should continue discussing frozen conflicts in several European regions [including the above-mentioned]. The conflicts create a threat to European security,” the newly elected official declared.


What real steps could be taken in order for the conflicts of Georgia to be progressed toward their final resolution? There is no answer to this question except one – a geopolitical change in the region that will be followed by Russia’s change of attitude toward Georgia and international society, powered by the principal, strategic actions of the West. In other words, the conflicts will keep their current ‘frozen’ status unless Russia, as a major factor of creating and orchestrating Abkhazia and South Ossetia conflicts, changes its game rules.

As for the current diplomatic actions from the Georgian side, this could of course serve to the positive as Gali residents - over thirty thousand local Georgians facing massive breaches of their fundamental rights – need to be protected. Although it is hard to say what concrete, measurable consequences international dialogue formats like the Geneva Talks could have, there are no better alternatives available for the Georgian side at this moment.

Are the Georgia conflicts a security threat for wider Europe? In a broader sense, they are. As Georgia has occupied the role of a central connector between Europe and Asia, the country’s security, stability and prosperity matters have surpassed Georgia’s national interests. Instead, any, positive or negative developments in Georgia could have relevant correlation to Europe, too.

Could international involvement serve for an ultimate resolution of the conflicts? This might seem a fairy tale to most bystanders; however, the efforts of the Georgian state and international community are/should be focused on the peaceful resolution. At the very least, Western engagement in the process should be increased in scope.

Zviad Adzinbaia

29 January 2016 09:39