OSCE PA Special Representative to discuss human impact of conflicts in South Caucasus this week
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Special Representative on the South Caucasus, Kristian Vigenin (MP, Bulgaria), will be travelling to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia from 24-30 September for talks with government officials, parliamentary leaders and civil society representatives in each country.
The Special Representative is expected to particularly address the impact that the protracted conflicts are having on the lives of people living in the region.
“It is far too easy to get lost in the statistics of ceasefire breaches and technical movements. For the people in the region these are not abstract concepts, but impact their well-being in a real way, and I hope to bring greater attention to the real human consequences of the protracted conflicts,” said Special Representative Vigenin.
Vigenin has regularly highlighted the role that parliamentary dialogue can play in conflict resolution processes. He plans to use the opportunity of the visits to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia to speak with a range of political actors and civil society representatives on current events including democratic developments in each of the countries.
Vigenin was appointed Special Representative in February 2016 by the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. In his mandate, he is tasked with promoting dialogue in all segments of society, in particular at the parliamentary level, in order to encourage reconciliation and rehabilitation with regard to the protracted conflicts in the region.
This week’s visit is part of a range of activities he is undertaking in his role as Special Representative. Vigenin is a former Foreign Minister of Bulgaria and currently serves as Deputy Head of OSCE PA's Bulgarian Delegation.
Armenia-Azerbaijan: EU calls for immediate cessation of hostilities along Line of Contact
The European Union has called for an immediate cessation of the hostilities which have broken out between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces around the Lachin corridor and other places along the Line of Contact. “Regrettably, these clashes already led to loss of life and injuries,” said a statement issued on 3 August.
“It is essential to de-escalate, fully respect the ceasefire and return to the negotiating table to seek negotiated solutions,” the statement added.
“The European Union remains committed to help overcome tensions and continue its engagement towards sustainable peace and stability in the South Caucasus,” it concluded.
Find out more
Lasha Darsalia has held a farewell meeting with the Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Georgia
On 21 June 2022, the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Lasha Darsalia held a farewell meeting with Severine Chappaz, the Head of the Delegation in Georgia of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Discussions focused on the issues relating to cooperation between Georgia and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The First Deputy Minister thanked the ICRC representative for the work done by the Committee in Georgia, for its humanitarian efforts, and especially for its assistance to the people living in the Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.
For his part, the ICRC Representative in Georgia thanked the First Deputy Minister for the fruitful cooperation and outlined the ways to further intensify it.
At the end of the meeting, Lasha Darsalia wished Severine Chappaz success in his future endeavors.
MFA of Georgia
Ilia Darchiashvili has met with the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
On 17 June 2022, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ilia Darchiashvili met with President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Margareta Cederfelt.
During the meeting, the sides welcomed the close cooperation between Georgia and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
The sides discussed the situation in the occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions. Emphasizing the importance of the international community’s strong and consolidated support, the Minister thanked the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Assembly for their support of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, which was repeatedly expressed in various resolutions and statements. The sides focused on the issue of the Geneva International Talks. Discussions focused on the Georgian government’s peace policy and the steps taken in this direction.
The sides also discussed the situation in the region, the ongoing war in Ukraine and its impact on the security environment. The President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly was informed about the political and humanitarian assistance provided by Georgia to Ukraine.
Speaking about Georgia's European integration process, the sides underlined the importance of the European Commission's recommendation to grant Georgia European perspective. It was highlighted that the country will continue to move in this direction.
EU faces a difficult choice – where the pendulum will swing?
European Commission is drawing closer to presenting its opinion on candidate status to Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova – members of the Association Trio. Meanwhile, questions and suggestions are mounting how to proceed in this way to find a “golden mean” amidst the war in Ukraine and highly unpredictable geostrategic context.
The stakes are high and considering all circumstances the European Union (EU) faces a difficult but historical decision. While, it is premature to talk in which direction the scales will swing, it’s evident that either negative or some intermediary decision about on any of the applicant state, will significantly affect their geopolitical future in the short and mid-term perspective. What about Georgia – the sole strategic ally of the West in the South Caucasus, the situation with regard to the status, still remains unclear. While we watch Ukraine as arena of a brutal geopolitical competition between the West and Russia on the European theater, Georgia remains another arena of geopolitical rivalry between Russia and the West. The absence of war nowadays, doesn’t mean it will not be unleashed tomorrow, if Russia finds Georgia alienated by the West. Thus, it's safe to say that EU candidate status for Georgia is highly likely to strengthen the EU foothold in the region and have a far-reaching influence on the other states of the region.
Before the pendant conclusion of the European Commission about candidate status for Georgia some opinions are present both in Georgia and outside calling the EU on either refraining from granting the status to Georgia, or suggesting something transitional. These suggestions are largely generated by ongoing domestic political infighting in the country.
The benefits from granting candidate status to Georgia, which considerably outstrips other members of the Association Trio by the pace of fulfillment of the components of the EU Association Agreement appeared to be far more tangible, than conditional gains in case of refusal.
Let's put the questions specifically and directly. Whether it’s a prudent step to hold Georgia back from the candidate status, as some groups argue, and detach it somehow from the Association Trio in this truly extraordinary situation?
What will the EU gain and what will it lose if decides to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova, and say "NO" to Georgia, or give it something different? Hardly this “cold shower” from the EU would contribute to political stability in Georgia, which is apparently important for the EU in this turbulent geopolitical environment. Georgia’s opposition groups and their supporters are highly likely to use this “NO” to embark on mass anti-governmental protests and Georgia is expected to plunge into another cycle of confrontation, turbulence, and uncertainty, with the ensuing consequences. It’s hard to imagine that the EU would be satisfied with such state of affairs in its key partner in the region.
Refusal to grant Georgia candidate status under any plausible pretext, can significantly increase not only Euro-skepticism but outright anti-Western sentiments in a sizeable part of Georgian society, providing anti-Western forces with an excellent opportunity to increase their influence and strengthen their stance. Nowadays, they are quite industrious in creating an anti-European atmosphere in society. Will the EU be satisfied with this perspective?
Pinning hope that the refusal to give a candidate’s status will force Georgia’s ruling party to become more malleable to the EU demands looks unconvinced. Quite the contrary, the care for its own political future, will make the current government far more dutybound to implement the EU-recommended reforms. The idea cultivated by some Georgian and foreign pundits and politicians that Georgia will better meet EU standards under the new government after the pre-term elections, looks rather emotional than well-calculated. If consider the balance of political powers in Georgia, as well as composition of the current political landscape, this scenario looks unrealistic.
And, last but not least,the status of the candidate for EU membership is not an act of mercy for Georgia. It will give the country a strong and unequivocal signal from the EU to take the road to justice, peace and security, or be faced, even more than before, with tension and confrontation that would not be in the interests of any party. It’s time for making extraordinary but geopolitically far-sighted decisions.
Zaal Anjaparidze, political analyst, Tbilisi, Georgia
Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia Meets Helga Maria Schmid, OSCE Secretary General
Cooperation between Georgia and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), current military activities witnessed in Ukraine and security environment in the region were among the main topics of discussion at a meeting held today between Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia and Helga Maria Schmid, OSCE Secretary General.
The Head of Government of Georgia expressed gratitude to the OSCE Secretary General for the efforts made towards a peaceful conflict resolution and rebuilding of trust among the war-torn communities in Georgia, thereby stressing the role of an OSCE Co-Chairmanship in the Geneva International Discussions (GID) and within the format of incident prevention and response mechanisms. It was once again highlighted at the meeting that the following round of GID should be held in the nearest future.
It was noted that irrespective of the difficult challenges faced in the security and humanitarian conditions on the ground, the Government of Georgia remains committed towards a peaceful conflict resolution initiative and democratic development of the country.
Irakli G+aribashvili and Helga Maria Schmid spoke about the military activities witnessed in Ukraine. The Prime Minister of Georgia reiterated solidarity towards Ukraine and stressed the importance of having the war ended in the shortest period of time.
Press Service of the Government Administration