West’s Readiness to Admit Georgia Launched S.Ossetia War is Step to Reconciliation with Russia

Politics Materials 11 November 2008 17:40 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 11 November / Trend corr. E.Tariverdiyeva / Readiness of the West to admit that the August conflict in South Ossetia was started by the Georgian troops, will assist in establishment of relations with Russia, whilst will not change opinion of the Western community on  Russia's disproportionate answer to actions of Georgia.

"The problem is whether Russia proportionally or disproportionately responded toward Georgia's launching military actions," Leon Aron, an American political scientist, said.

Two British senior officials of the OSCE will publicize convincing evidence to the international community that Georgia commenced conflict in South Ossetia in August, the influential British Sunday Times newspaper reported. These evidences can change the EU's position in the issue of the Russian-Georgian conflict and enable to improve the EU's relations with Russia, the author of the article believes.

In early night of 8 August, large-scale military actions began in the unrecognized republic South Ossetia. The Georgian troops entered in Tskhinvali. Later Russian troops seized Tskhinvali and pushed the Georgian armed forces back to the territory of Georgia. On 26 August Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as well as established diplomatic relations with them on 9 September.

Two months after the August developments in Tskhinvali, some influential western newspapers, such as BBC, The New York Times and The Sunday Times, published materials on results of journalist investigations , which testify that the Georgian missiles and artillery shot down civil regions of South Ossetia by the beginning of the Russian bombing.

The Western officials immediately reacted after these articles. "The United Kingdom took off its objection against resumption of negotiations between the EU and Russia on trade and economic relations, although Moscow did not withdraw its troops from the Georgian territory," Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on 11 November.

The newspaper cites speech of David Milliband, the British Foreign Minister: "Isolation of Russia is unprofitable for us. Systematic and impartial dialogue will be more preferable for us."

According to observers, outbreak of such kind of publication looks like the West's proposal to restore peace with Russia.

The EU and US will still be cautious in their assessments though reports such as the Sunday Times article and article in the New York Times on the same subject, will probably give Russia a certain limited amount of political leverage," Ksenia Skvortsova, an expert of the Supervise Centre over risks (London), told Trend via e-mail.

The EU and Russia relations, according to Skvortsova, will be on the mend anyway because they have to continue a pragmatic relationship in economic and trade spheres.

Establishment of the international intelligence commission and objective investigation of the developments were initiated by Georgia, an independent Georgian expert Paata Zakareshvili said. Europe's support to investigate the reasons of the conflict, according to the expert, does not mean that Europe has changed its orientation and became either pro-Georgian or pro-Russian.

"Europe tries to find reality, but West's will to set normal relations with Moscow stresses that Russia is unpredictable country and its isolation cause more danger," Zakareishvili told Trend .

However, despite of outside changed attitude of the West to the developments in Tskhinvali, experts consider that this will not influence the opinion of inhabitants.

The West will unlikely change the entrenched perception of the conflict, Skvortsova said.

The recent published announcements by West worsen Georgia's image, considers Russian independent expert Leonid Radzikhovskiy, but do not perfect Russia's, as well. "There are few people who believe in that Russia was the first to attack on Georgia. Russia is spoken to used a lot of military forces or Russia did not have right to recognize the independence the territories of Georgia one-sidedly. The fact that Georgia is bad as for the West establishment does not make Russia as a good country," Radzikhovskiy, the chairman of the Supervision Council of Political and economic Communications Agency, said to Trend via a telephone from Moscow.

"The U.S. major allies voiced concern on whether Russia proportionally or disproportionately responded toward Georgia's launching military actions, rather than on who launched the war first," Aron, the director of the Russian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said to Trend .

The results of the investigation, according to experts, may lead to change of the political situation in Georgia.

This will be advantageous, for example for Burjanadze, Radzikhovskiy said. "As Georgia depends on the U.S. completely, Saakashvili will be replaced by Burjanadze," Radzikhovskiy added.

Skvortsova considers that generally, the biggest effects of the OSCE report will be felt domestically in Georgia than abroad, at least for now because they will give the opposition some more material with which to potentially undermine Saakashvili's position.

"Georgia must turn into an infantile country with responsibility to prevent any danger," Zakareishvili said.

O.Ostapenko (Baku), N.Kirtskhalia (Georgia) and R.Agayev (Moscow) contributed in the article.

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