Russia May Recognize Independence of Abkhazia, South Ossetia – Parliamentary Committee’s Head
Russia, Moscow, 7 May / Trend corr R. Agayev/ Interview with Vadim Gustov, chairman of the CIS Committee of the Russian Federation Council, at Trend .
Question: How will you comment on intensification of Russia's support to Abkhazia and South Ossetia and aggravation in Russian-Georgian relations caused by that? Does the aggravation have some grounds or underlying reasons?
Answer: As a matter of fact, when there was no Kosovo problem in Europe the situation was frozen: peacekeepers were operating in Abkhazia and South Ossetia; there was no bloodshed, people were getting adapted step-by-step, found jobs, bore children and lived somehow. After Kosovo took place (when Kosovo proclaimed independence - editor's note), a range of international agreements, in which head of Sates clearly specified that repartition of land in Europe is inadmissible, was broken. I mean final CE Security Council's Helsinki Act dating 1975. It is the declaration in which world's leaders pledged not to assist territorial redistribution in Europe. Americans violated the order, stability and agreements.
Kosovo proclaimed independence and was recognized by several countries and that spurred up Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as Abkhazia has much more right to be called independent state rather then Kosovo. Russia also realizes that if it just now recognized independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it will have to solve at once a plenty of issues in this connection: we will lose UN Security Council's mandate to hold peacekeepers there. Peacekeepers will leave the area, the conflicting sides will collide and that will result in war and bloodshed. Does anybody need this? So, Russia said that currently it recognizes neither Abkhazia nor Ossetia, unlike USA and several EU countries has done with respect to Kosovo. But the embargo should be lifted to enable people to maintain trade, production, to enable politicians to treat their global problems and ordinary people to live normally and civilized. That is all.
Then Georgia became boosting the fact: "Why does Russia help Abkhazia and South Ossetia?" Georgians should first ask Americans why the United States helped Taiwan so much. Americans popularized Taiwan, but did not recognize its independence as that would cause war with China. But the rendered such economic support to Taiwan which neither Abkhazia nor South Ossetia can imagine. Now, when we are criticized I always say that Russia replicates rich American experience towards Abkhazia and South Ossetia. There is nothing scandalous. However, Georgia still strives for NATO and if the country gets close to joining the organization we will ask "So what, will NATO aircraft fly now over Abkhazia and South Ossetia where Russians comprise over 80% of population?
Question: How will further events go on?
Answer: It is difficult to say. The events will depend on how Georgia will act. Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Georgia to trade - to remove all obstacles, to develop trade and economic relations, to establish sale of Georgia's manganese to Russia, to trade in coal, etc. But the next day Georgian Foreign Minister left for United States to consult.
Question: Tbilisi tries to raise the issue on its broken down pilotless reconnaissance aircraft for serious discussion at the international level. Can this cause some sanctions on Russia?
Answer: Georgia's planes must not fly over the area, because according to all international agreements, the area is controlled by peacekeeping force. Georgia's aircraft must not fly over there. If a plane enters the air over the area it must be shaken down, because that is violation of the agreement approved not only by Russia and CIS. There is UN Security Council's mandate which stipulates that very clearly. The first cause for that was the Georgian plane flying over the territory - had not it flied over there, it would not have been struck.
Question: Is Russia meditating over recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia in near future through active assistance to their economic development?
Answer: Russia must now create prerequisites to develop business in those unrecognized states. That is the most important thing. Now we are not the Soviet Union, where we could order to bring humanitarian aid to a place and the order would be implemented at once. Now everything, even production of citruses and tobacco, is business, market. If Georgia on USA's advice acts so tough towards Russia, the country may recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia in future.
Question: Abkhazia and South Ossetia turned down the settlement plan offered by the Georgian president. Does it mean that Abkhazia will turn down any settlement plan which will not recognize it as an independent state?
Answer: Before declaring his plan, Saakashvili could have sent a note about his plan. It is wrong to speak to the self-declared republics like this: "I say it on radio and you answer me". All these steps should be made officially, the commission discusses it and international organizations are informed about it. These most serious proposals should be included in the most serious document. But there is no such a document which shows that another game is being played. Therefore, Abkhazia and South Ossetia have a right to react Saakashvili's plan as they wish. It is common case in the international relations.
Question: Can Russia speed up recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as a response to Georgia's membership in NATO?
Answer: The fact that Georgia is striving for NATO membership does not mean that NATO is ready to admit it. It is possible to wish to marry English queen, but she may not wish it. Georgia wants to enter NATO, but Americans want to see Georgians in NATO. Americans want to see several former soviet countries in NATO, to deploy its military bases there, and then they will dictate their rules to Europe. Why do Americans come to Europe and establish their own rules? We already have Germany with 80mln population, England, Italy, France and Russia in Europe. Do we need American rocket? These rockets will be launched to some place, America will gain money, because these rockets will not reach America and we will have to wage a war in Europe. Who needs it? The Americans squeezed Russia out of Georgia for almost free and deployed there their subdivisions, installed rockets and planes. I have been recently to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. I have been to Narva 20k of St Petersburg. NATO planes are flying there. There is only 80km distance from the nuclear power station in Sosnoviy Bor. The planes can even carry nuclear weapon. NATO is approaching Russian borders and compels it to new armament race.
It is the same case with Ukraine. Its population claims that NATO is good. But all should know through what goes this strong military organization called NATO. It has well trained staff and system equipped with rockets, strong outer space groups which fly and can even see license plate of you car from the outer space. Europeans understand it gradually. But Russia does not pose threat for anyone. U.S. looks for place with oil and gas in order to butt into it and to dictate its interests saying that it is America's interests.