Meanwhile in New York and Georgia

The Russian judge was unimpressed by both the technical merits and the artistic program of the UN resolution to extend the observation mission in Georgia’s breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 0.0 all around, or Géorgie, nul point.

Since 1993, UN observers had worked both sides of the lines to keep tabs on troop movements and other aspects of security in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia. With local tendencies toward explosions and pot-shots (see here, here, and the end of the page here), precisely the kinds of things that preceded last summer’s war, monitoring by a reasonably neutral group gives cooler heads a chance to prevail. Their current mandate expired last night at midnight, and the resolution would have kept this function going. The Security Council vote was 10 in favor, four abstaining (including China) and Russia exercising its veto.

We need to get rid of this apparition [of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as parts of Georgia],” Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the council after casting the veto. “Our partners, however, prefer poison to medicine.”

Apparently that’s diplomatic language in Putin’s Medvedev’s Russia.

[Churkin] had offered to extend the mission’s mandate for one month on condition that the Security Council agree to delete all the “offensive references” in the resolution to names and sovereignty

Because Abkhazia and South Ossetia are regarded as independent by Russia and the overwhelming majority of the international community that consists of Nicaragua.

Russia has also forced the end of the OSCE observation mission in Georgia.

The only governmental monitors left are those from the European Union. EU monitors, however, do not have a mandate that gives them access across the administrative boundaries. They can peer into Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but cannot go and see for themselves.

One fewer support for stability. It’s almost as if one major player isn’t interested in stability.

11 thoughts on “Meanwhile in New York and Georgia

  1. The American government and military bankrolled
    the Georgian governments attempts to recapture
    two of its regions that had declared independence.
    The attempt ended in failure. The failure had consequences. The Russian government now calls the Shots in this part of the world. If the American government wasn’t prepared to back this adventure with cannonades they should have left well alone. The losers in a struggle invariably call for equal treatment when their attempt for special treatment fails.

  2. What Cindy6 says.

    Setting aside motifs, and i/legality of Kosovan (and Abkhazian/Ossetian) declaration of independence, I always wonder what is EU/USA plan for ending Kosovo crisis?

    It seems that they are head over heels to prove to Serbia that it will not be punished — EU talks advance, etc.

    I still cannot imagine government in Serbia accepting Kosovo independence, regardless which party is in power. So, when USA accepted Kosovo independence as a fact, how they plan to convince Serbia to accept it? As it seems, Serbia will enter EU well before Kosovo. As member of EU, it will never accept Kosovo as EU member.

    It seems to me that USA thought that Russia will blink in this game of poker, as many times before and leave Serbia without support. Well, that didn’t happen and they destroyed international system and left Kosovo as a black hole in Balkans.

    Recent moves from some EU members actually indicate that there is some underlying racism behind decisions to recognize Kosovo independence — they actually like Kosovo separated from Serbia, because they like to impose more restrictions on Albanians. For example, there is huge momentum to grant visa-free travel to Serb citizens and major choke point was that EU wanted guarantees that Albanians from Kosovo will not get Serbian passports (easily), so they can keep strict visa regime towards Kosovars.

  3. Stability needs a clear status. Keeping things in limbo forever won’t help.

  4. Yes, it is a long time. But look how much good the observers did in 2008. If you want stability the losers need to recognize nobody cares, they are alone and have no way to regain these territories.
    You may argue that’s harsh on Georgia and I agree, but we were talking about stability.

  5. “As it seems, Serbia will enter EU well before Kosovo. As member of EU, it will never accept Kosovo as EU member.”

    And you think that Serbia will become an EU member-state sometime soon because … ? Maybe Serbia and Kosova will get in simultaneously.

    At any rate, Kosovar independence is a done deal. More than fifty countries recognize it, state structures are already in place, and imagining a restoration of Serbian sovereignty is ridiculous.

  6. “imagining a restoration of Serbian sovereignty is ridiculous.”

    And imagining Serbia will accept Kosovo independence is ridiculous…

    So, what is big plan? What will be used to force Serbia to accept independence of Kosovo?

  7. The next big event in the Serbia-Kosovo story will be the decision of the International Court of Justice, due next summer.

    If the ICJ rules in Kosovo’s favor, it’s basically game over — there will be a bunch of new recognitions, enough to guarantee Kosovo a majority in both the General Assembly and the Security Council within a year or two. At that point the paradigm shifts to “Kosovo is independent except for Russia’s veto”.

    If the ICJ rules against, then things get complicated. Some countries may retract their recognitions. Most will not, but the recognizers will remain a minority. On the ground, the current status quo will continue.

    We’ll know next year.

    Doug M.

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