Black Sea Peacebuilding Network
Report on twelfth meeting of the representatives of NGOs and independent experts
On 29th December, at GFSIS office, the twelfth meeting of experts within the Georgian component of Black Sea Peace Network project was held.
Project is implemented with the support of the Ministry of Exterior of Finland and in collaboration with Crisis Management Initiative.
At the meeting presentations were made by George Volski, International Center of Geopolitical Studies (The Peace Initiatives after August War: Intents and Reality) and George Tarkhan-Mouravi Institute of Political Studies (New Trends in Turkish Foreign Policy and Georgia).
First presentation titled: Peace Incentives after August War: Intents and Reality by George Volski was focused on the conception: “Engagement without Recognition: a New Strategy toward Abkhazia and Eurasia’s Unrecognized States”. Author provided his attitude towards the provisions of this conception. G. Volski stated that Russia’s priorities are clearly formulated in the “Russia’s National Security Strategy until 2020” approved by Presidential decree of May 12, 2009, clearly showing position of Russia against NATO expansion to the east and proposed “competition” in the region. In the author’s opinion, August war as clear demonstration of the Russian vision of contemporary world order. As for dislocation of the military forces in South Caucasus (in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region) – reenforced rear far from the stable North Caucasus. G. Volski mentioned that protection of interests of the Russian citizens was just an excuse and not a factor that the ambiguous attitude of the international community towards territorial integrity of Georgia would yield opposite result and provide additional basis for strategic strengthening of Russian in South Caucasus. G. Volski admitted that Russian strategic plan implies not protection of the people’s rights but gaining and maintenance of power.
G. Volski stated that though the conception “engagement without recognition” contains interesting provisions, proposals in it are worth of attention and should be taken into consideration; still this model does not provide solution of the problem. He also discussed the documents of Georgian government “National Strategy Regarding Occupied Territories – Involvement through Cooperation” and “Involvement Strategy Action Plan”.
In conclusion G. Volski noted that the strategy should be directed towards restoration and development of the contacts, the NGOs should be engaged, experience of relations between the parties and the history should be taken into consideration; trade and humanitarian rehabilitation relations should be developed. The factor of joint solution of the security issues and experience of the international NGOs should be taken into consideration as well.
Finally, G. Volski expressed the hope that the future developments would lead to effective negotiations (see below full text of presentation).
After presentation the discussion about the strategy “Engagement without Recognition” was conducted. The opinion was that the strategy is ambiguous, that there is no clear understanding of what would follow such developments. The questions about issuance of the passports and travel of the representatives of separatist regions to the Europe were formulated. There were stated the proposals of how the engagement principle should be applied and what should be the directions of further work, with whom the “engagement” approach should be applied, with the elite, ot general population; discussion also dealt with the holders of Georgian passports and their motivation, whether they should have these passports or not. What should be the position of Georgia towards such citizens and in general, the specific issues of the passports’ types and their use. K. Gogolashvili expressed his opinion that one of the active participants of the discussion, Lasha Tugushi, editor of the newspaper “Resonance” should present the expressed propositions and ideas in a form of report at the following meeting.
Second presentation was made by George Tarkhan-Mouravi – New Trends in Turkish Foreign Policy and Georgia. The author mentioned form the outset that the policy of Turkey does not determine the situation in Georgia. G. Tarkhan-Mouravi provided general overview of the foreign policy of Turkey for the period after 2002 and discussed three methodological and five practical principles stated by Davutoğlu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey. G. Tarkhan-Mouravi discussed Turkish neighborhood policies and its relations with the USA and EU. He also mentioned Turkish-Russian partnership relations and position of Turkey with respect of Georgian-Russian war of 2008. Finally, the author provided brief assessment of the future perspectives and place and opportunities of Georgia, in this respect (see below the text of report).
After presentation the audience expressed its interest in the discussed issues, the questions included: whether Erdogan’s pro-western reform deals with the economy or not, what is the possible role of Turkey in Russian-Georgian relations, what will be the position of Turkey with respect of Euro-Atlantic integration of Georgia, how realistic is the Turkey’s attempts to fill the gap resulting from weakening&loss of Russian influence; what are the interests and influence of Turkey in Adjaria; Kurdistan factor in integrity of Turkey.
The audience also discussed the future incentives within the scope of Black Sea Peacebuilding Network Project to be submitted to the CMI; what could be done for better illustration, spreading and elucidation of the discussed problems.
In the end of the meeting K. Gogolashvili presented to the audience the report on Georgian-Russian dialogue held in Istanbul on 18th December 2010. K. Gogolashvili provided individual description of each member of Russian team and overview of the themes and issues considered at the meeting.