Europe Not Able to Resolve Conflicts in Georgia: Experts

Azerbaijan, Baku, 18 July/ Trend , corr E. Tanriverdiyeva/ Though Germany is ready to help resolve conflicts in Georgia, it is hard to expect assistance from Europe in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, experts believe.

"It is hard to expect Europe (as a whole) helping to settle the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. That said, Europe (particularly Germany) is more than happy to help advancement of political stability in Georgia," Tomoyuki Hashimoto, the expert from London said.

On 17 July, the foreign minister of Germany visited Tbilisi to discuss a plan for the resolution of Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. According to media reports, the three-stage plan, developed by the group of friends of the UN Secretary General on Georgia, envisages the return of refugees to Gal region of Abkhazia, economic revival of the self-declared republic and discussing status of Abkhazia.

"At this point, unfortunately, the EU is unlikely to curry out any missions in Georgia other than to maintain the status-quo. The EU lacks leadership in the conflict resolution," Hashimoto, member of the World International Studies Association at the Standford University said to Trend .

According to the German expert Alexander Rar, Germany offers three-staged resolution of the Abkhaz conflict. "Germany is also ready to act as a chief sponsor of the economic revival of Abkhazia," Rar, director of program of Russia and CIS of the German Council on Foreign Policy said to Trend .

The Russian expert Vladimir Zharikhin believes that EU and West demonstrated their opportunities in the resolution of such conflicts in case of Kosovo and if such mediation efforts suit Georgia, the choice up to it.

"Unlike the European countries, Russia does not recognize the independence of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Trans Dniester, but the European union demonstrated its position on this issue in case of Kosovo. If such principal resolution suits Georgia, then it has a right to appeal for the mediation efforts of West," Zharikhin, deputy director of the CIS Institute said to Trend .

The expert said that the status of Abkhazia should not be discussed yet. "The status should be determined at the end of the peacekeeping process suggested by the foreign minister of Germany. All development options should remain open and sovereignty of the break-away republics as well. The first step which Berlin supports is the refusal of the Georgian, Abkhazian and Russian authorities to solve the conflict by force," Rar said.

According to Zharikhin, peacekeepers have carried out only mission in the Georgian and Abkhazian and the Georgian and South Ossetia conflict zones, which stipulated prevention of military conflict between the sides. "Their task is to prevent military actions and they are still doing in spite of losses," he said.

"Generally, there is low probability for military actions in the region, because Georgia lacks real opportunities to hold large scale actions. It does not exclude the continuation of provocations, such as terror attacks, and major task of peacemakers, which are reinforced at the administrative border between Abkhazia and Georgia, is to defeat these attacks," Zharikhin said.

After the collapse of the USSR, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which hold autonomous status within the Georgian SSR, declared their independence. Following the military conflict, resulting in the loss of Georgia's control over this territory, unsuccessful peace talks are being held. Tbilisi offers large autonomy within Georgia, whilst separatists do not agree with this proposal.

R. Agayev (Russia) and A. Gasimova (Baku) also contributed to this article.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]

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