I am finally back home to Georgia for holidays …. and some research work as well….
Going back to Tbilisi always brings me tons of emotions and special feelings, but recently I discovered there is one new type of feeling inside me: I started observing and comparing people with others I’ve met outside of Georgia and try to make conclusions, some kind of game of analyzing post-communist nations, not only in political sense but in everyday life level as well. Sometimes asking yourself what would Ukrainian or Armenian would say in this case and why?! Sometimes (when in transport) I am getting addicted to this game so much that I just pass by my destination. I want to know them: Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaijanians, other caucasians, Ukrainians, Russians….. This region is just fascinating, so much diverse, interesting, breathtaking, deep, unimaginably beautiful and troublesome at the same time. Actually I mean Caucasus in this particular case…. Just found an extremely interesting article by Thomas de Waal who is IWPR’s (Institute for War and Peace Reporting) outgoing Caucasus Editor. This article could be useful for all of you interested in Caucasus topic, especially for the beginners wishing to know more about this region. …"the sad reality is, that with its tangle of closed borders and ceasefire lines, the Caucasus more resembles a suicide pact…." – Thomas de Waal stating. Fair and interesting point of view from outside… I am sure you’re already curious to read this article…. so go ahead… L
p.s. By February 2009 I will be reporting from Tbilisi…..
By David Alexander, BREGANCON, France (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will ask Georgia’s president on Friday to sign a French-negotiated ceasefire that contains some apparent concessions to Moscow but would lead to the withdrawal of Russian forces, officials said.
The six-point ceasefire accord Rice will take to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili provides for the withdrawal of all Russian forces, leaving behind only the peacekeeping troops who were in place in South Ossetia and Abkhazia before the start of the crisis, a senior U.S. official said. It would give the Russian peacekeepers a new but limited authority to patrol certain areas of Georgia until third-party peacekeepers and observers arrive, the official said on condition of anonymity. The United States had concerns about the arrangement, the official said, but was willing to accept limited patrolling in the interest of a quick ceasefire that would get the Russian army out of Georgia. Russian troops and armor moved in or around at least three Georgian towns on Thursday, ignoring Washington’s demands that Moscow respect Georgia’s territorial integrity, a day after Russia and Georgia agreed to the peace plan proposed by Sarkozy. French President Nicolas Sarkozy met Rice at his presidential summer residence on the Mediterranean coast and later told reporters “She will be taking a certain number of documents that will make it possible to consolidate the ceasefire.”
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I’ve just met with my national security team to discuss the crisis in Georgia. I’ve spoken with President Saakashvili of Georgia, and President Sarkozy of France this morning. The United States strongly supports France’s efforts, as President of the European Union, to broker an agreement that will end this conflict. The United States of America stands with the democratically elected government of Georgia. We insist that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia be respected.
Russia has stated that changing the government of Georgia is not its goal. The United States and the world expect Russia to honor that commitment. Russia has also stated that it has halted military operations and agreed to a provisional cease-fire. Unfortunately, we’re receiving reports of Russian actions that are inconsistent with these statements. We’re concerned about reports that Russian units have taken up positions on the east side of the city of Gori, which allows them to block the East-West Highway, divide the country, and threaten the capital of Tbilisi. We’re concerned about reports that Russian forces have entered and taken positions in the port city of Poti, that Russian armored vehicles are blocking access to that port, and that Russia is blowing up Georgian vessels. We’re concerned about reports that Georgian citizens of all ethnic origins are not being protected. All forces, including Russian forces, have an obligation to protect innocent civilians from attack. With these concerns in mind, I have directed a series of steps to demonstrate our solidarity with the Georgian people and bring about a peaceful resolution to this conflict. I’m sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to France, where she will confer with President Sarkozy. She will then travel to Tbilisi, where she will personally convey America’s unwavering support for Georgia’s democratic government. On this trip she will continue our efforts to rally the free world in the defense of a free Georgia. I’ve also directed Secretary of Defense Bob Gates to begin a humanitarian mission to the people of Georgia, headed by the United States military. This mission will be vigorous and ongoing. A U.S. C-17 aircraft with humanitarian supplies is on its way. And in the days ahead we will use U.S. aircraft, as well as naval forces, to deliver humanitarian and medical supplies. We expect Russia to honor its commitment to let in all forms of humanitarian assistance. We expect Russia to ensure that all lines of communication and transport, including seaports, airports, roads, and airspace, remain open for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and for civilian transit. We expect Russia to meet its commitment to cease all military activities in Georgia. And we expect all Russian forces that entered Georgia in recent days to withdraw from that country. As I have made clear, Russia’s ongoing action raise serious questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region. In recent years, Russia has sought to integrate into the diplomatic, political, economic, and security structures of the 21st century. The United States has supported those efforts. Now Russia is putting its aspirations at risk by taking actions in Georgia that are inconsistent with the principles of those institutions. To begin to repair the damage to its relations with the United States, Europe, and other nations, and to begin restoring its place in the world, Russia must keep its word and act to end this crisis.