(BRUSSELS2) In quick succession, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Cathy Ashton, like the Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, made a point of calling Russia to order of its international obligations in Georgia. Cathy Ashton recalled her "deep concern" over the continued establishment and even increase "by Russian security forces of fences and other obstacles along administrative boundaries in Georgia between government-administered territory in Tbilisi and in the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia" These activities - she added - are " contrary to the territorial integrity of Georgia", can " create significant hardship for residents on either side of administrative boundaries and “seriously threaten stability and security in these regions”. And to call on the Putin government to " ensure that these barriers are removed » and reaffirm « the support of the European Union for the territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders”.
Concern at NATO too
AF Rasmussen also issued a statement saying that this position is in "contradiction with Russia's international commitments and does not contribute to a peaceful resolution of the conflict". NATO's position is very clear,” he insisted: “ As recalled at the Chicago Summit, NATO supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. (And) we "call on Russia to recognize the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states ».
Breaking out of discretion
We remember that this type of establishment is not new. Along Abkhazia and South Ossetia, there was already a border, very present, sometimes not visible to the naked eye. This is now becoming more and more visible. But until now the European Union had reacted very discreetly, with a press release from the local delegation or the head of the EU observation mission on the spot (EUMM Georgia). The recent visit, at the end of September, of the 28 ambassadors of the COPS - the Political and Security Committee of the EU - to the region, at the invitation of the Lithuanian presidency, is undoubtedly not for nothing in this position more assertive public.
A real showdown
Russia has its reasons. In addition to cyclical motivations - Moscow fears an infiltration of terrorists or other opponents of the Sochi Olympics (which is taking place on the Russian side but close to Abkhazia), we also feel the Kremlin's desire to mark its neighborhood, and to "win on the ground", in the run-up to the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius which, at the end of November, should see greater rapprochement between the countries close to Russia (Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, etc.) and the European Union. It is a real showdown that takes place between the West and the East to try to win or keep countries in its sphere of power. And it is to bet that it does not stop here. Classically, Russia will no doubt use economic weapons, notably gas, with its neighbours, whether they belong to the European Union or not. It could also decide to take a new step by deciding to examine South Ossetia's request for accession to the Russian Republic. For example...
- Do not offer the Sochi Olympics on a silver platter to Putin (Verhofstadt)
- Discreet reaction after Putin's visit to Abkhazia
- Incident near South Ossetia on the 5th anniversary of Russian intervention
- Tension at the Moldovan border with Transnistria. And in the background a showdown Moscow-Brussels?
- Fences in Ditsi "An unacceptable situation" according to the head of EUMM
- The "jonjoli" prevented from working near Ossetia. Abkhazia becomes a real border