Bush’s Tour to Europe not to Change Attitude towards Abkhazia: Experts
Russia, Moscow, 11 June / corr. Trend R. Agayev, A. Gasimova, N. Kirtskhalia/ The tour of the US President George W. Bush to Europe will hardly change the attitude of his European colleagues towards Georgia-Russia problem on Abkhazia.
"Chances are good that Bush and the Europeans will find a common language on this issue. The Europeans may be somewhat less inclined to antagonize Moscow," the European expert Jeff Mankoff said.
Georgian-Russian dispute is one of the subjects of discussions on the agenda of eight-day Europe tour of the President Bush, which began on 10 June from Slovenia where the EU-US summit was held.
"In practical terms, their options are somewhat limited, apart from calling on Russia to recognize Georgia's territorial integrity?" Mankoff, an adjunct fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations said to Trend .
"Even Medvedev has hinted that Russia is open to reaching a negotiated solution with Tbilisi, and Moscow has actually refrained from using the word independence in regard to Abkhazia. I do not think the US and European positions will differ much during Bush's visit," added Mankoff, the fellow of Yel University on international Security.
According to the Russian expert Mikhail Remizov, all morally condemn Russia's position, but as to the practical support moves, there will not be any agreement and serious initiative by the States. "Here the visit of the American senators to Abkhazia should be remembered, which gives ground to say that the Americans are holding dialogue with both parties, and Abkhazia can gain legitimatization not from Russia, but also from the United States," Remizov, the president of National Strategy Institute of Russia said to Trend .
According to expert, position of the United States and Europe on settlement of conflicts in Georgia is almost the same. The expert believes that the only difference is that not all Europeans want to see Georgia in NATO and the position on this issue may come closer even though France, Germany and other countries do not want Georgia to be admitted to NATO.
"The point is that those who do not want it, does not have a well-shaped strategic position in this regard. The advantage of America's position is that it bears a strategic character. NATO is an organization for the security of countries with democratic choice and it should not refuse to small states which face threats from the big Russia. Europe does not oppose to such principal position of America, there are only certain situational arguments which are restricted to time," expert said.
"Nevertheless, today no one is able to solve conflicts; therefore, I do not think that Bush's talks with the Europeans are important to gain some a support for possible military actions of Saakashvili. To all appearances, direct military operation is not expected to take place in the region," Remizov added.
According to the Georgian expert Archila Gegeshidze, who commented on the Georgian-Russian relations within the European tour, the President George Bush will contribute to the significance of Georgian's problems on an international level.
"The discussions between the US and EU over the Georgian-Russian relations, which have deteriorated due to the conflict in Abkhazia, will enable the European Union to develop coordinated actions. It will also enable EU to discuss the normalization of the situation around Georgia in the EU summit and later in Russia-EU summit which will be held in Hanta-Mansiysk," Gegeshidze said to Trend .
"The problems of Georgia were discussed widely so far, and if it assumes a systematic character the significance of this issue will grow further," Gegeshidze said.
The President Bush will visit Slovenia, Germany, Italy, Vatican, France and Great Britain and will take part in the EU-US summit. Joint statement regarding Georgia and Russia is expected to be made in the summit.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, former parts of Georgia SSR, declared their independence after demise of the USSR. Unsuccessful talks are being held following the armed conflict that deprived Tbilisi of its control over these territories. They have been striving for recognition of their independence, while Georgia considers them to be its constituent part and offers them a large autonomy.