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Monday, 31 May 2010

images/stories/articles/portrets/kote.jpgKote Zhghenti –Europe and America allow Russia act freely in post soviet area

InterPressNews’ interviewed the expert on the international issues, the former Georgian ambassador to Austria and Hungary Kote Zhghenti on the latest transitions at the international arena and how America-Russia and Europe-Russia relations might reflect over Washington-Tbilisi and Brussels-Tbilisi relations.

- Mister Kote, American press reads that the USA preferred cooperation to confrontation for the sake of Georgia with Russia. According to American publications, the statements of the US State Department supporting to Georgia were the expose of the diplomatic etiquette and Obama is not interested in Georgia at all. Are such estimations real?

- Such estimations were brought out due to Obama’s letter on the reduction of nuclear armament sent to the Congress for ratification. The letter read ‘The relations with Georgia are not obstacle for the relations between Russia and America’. The priorities of Russia-America relations are the issues of nuclear armament, fighting against terrorism, Iran’s nuclear program, Afghanistan question and so on. These are the high-rank questions of their relations indeed. Certainly these issues will always be accentuated by them than Georgian question.

I think the talks in relation with Georgia are at the level of the statements. There had been making more radical statements in relation with Georgia in due time of Bush Administration but Obama stated that the US Administration changes its police with Russia. Therefore, his statements in relation with Tbilisi are more discreet. Obama’s statements are merely more direct than the statements made by Bush Administration. The strategic cooperation line of Russia-America relations had always been advantageous. There not any novelty about it indeed. The cooperation between Russia and America will be initial issue despite their different positions in relation with Georgia.

- American press reads that America abandoned Georgia alone before Russia. Does it mean Tbilisi remained face to face before Russia?

- No way. The USA permanently reiterates the non-recognition police in relation with Abkhazia and the so called South Ossetia. 10 pages were dedicated to the relations with Russia in the new strategy of NATO. The document reads that NATO will support Georgia for the development of democracy again continuing the non-recognition policy in relation with Abkhazia and the so called South Ossetia. In my opinion, nothing had been changed in strategic point of view except of tone and degree of the statements.

- On the one hand, European Parliament passed the resolution on enforcing Russia to perform the liabilities stipulated by Cease-Fire Agreement of August 12, but on the other hand, NATO Secretary General Rasmussen stressed that Alliance considers Russia as its significant partner not intending to make compromises on the principle issues. How seriously might we consider the mentioned facts?

- I do not suppose either the USA or EU to carry out special pressure over Russia even in terms of economical sanctions. But I am sure the actuality of non-recognition police in relation with Abkhazia and the so called South Ossetia will always be accentuated. There are perspectives of performing the treaty of strategic partnership between the USA and Georgia.

- Might we say Washington and Brussels took into account the Kremlin’s pretensions over the post soviet area and allowed to dominate in that pint of view?

- May remember but many forget the statement made by President Clinton whole he was in power that ‘Georgia is backyard of Russia’. His wife and Madeleine Albright are in the present US Administration worked out the NATO new strategy. That means Washington allows Russia gaining more influences in ‘the backyard’ again.

I am confident the whole post soviet area is considered in the ‘backyard’. The USA and Europe do not have the same pretensions about dominating in the post soviet area as Russia has. The fact is that Europe and America allow Russia act freely in post soviet area.

- Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze stated that he is ready to meet with his Russia counterpart without any pre-conditions. What might Vashadze’s statement mean?

- As a rule, FM does not make any statements on behalf of himself. FM is the representative of the executive government. If FM makes such kind of statement it means the one had been instructed by the president. It is hard to speak about that statement until we hear the initiator of the mentioned statement. It is essential where, how and in what kind of circumstances the FM made the statement.

- The regulation of the relations with Russia the prerogative of the government… But what might mean the interview of Gigi Ugulava to ‘News Week’ that Georgia is ready to decline NATO membership if Russia performs the liabilities stipulated by August 12 Cease-Fire Agreement? What did Gigi indicate to Moscow?

- I am sure Ugulava was speaking on his own initiative. He wanted to indicated to the fact that his is not only Mayor but a politician as well as. His statement seemed to be the attempt of one’s presentation. Anyway he did not do it finely. I doubt he had fixed the governmental position on the matter.

- According to a part of experts, Georgian government fails to notice the transitions taking place at the international arena. Does the government act adequately in the given situation?

- It reacts adequately but acts need the relevant area. Today the Western press reads that Georgian government lost confidence in the West after August War. But the fact is that the area of manipulations is decreased. The government does everything that can be done in the conditions of the restricted area. As for the transitions taking place at the international area, I think the government does not want to notice them. But the truth cannot be escaped and someday the government will have to see it.

Koba Bendeliani

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