Pre-Summit Meeting on Georgia’s Future

Yesterday, I attended a meeting organised by the German Marshall Fund in Brussels. Speaking were:

Temuri Yakobashvili, State Minister of Georgia for Reintegration
Radoslaw Sikorski, Foreign Minister of Poland
Radoslaw Sikorski, Foreign Minister of Poland
Matthew Bryza, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
Vladimir Chizov, Russian Ambassador to the European Union
Eckhart von Klaeden, the foreign-affairs spokesman of the CDU-CSU

This is an interesting line-up and the sparks flew.

Poland and the US felt that Georgia had fallen into a trap by responding to Russian provocation and had used passports, given to South Ossetians, to fuel the situation.

The Russian ambassador made some startling claims, that they didn’t use excessive force, their actions ‘saved lives’ and that theywere trying to calm the situation and reduce tension. He justified their actions by saying Kosovo was a precedent.

The US State Dept representative pointed out that the South Ossetian army was commanded by Russian officers.

Russia claimed it didn’t want to start a second cold war, and that wouldn’t happen because that was a clash of incompatible ideologies, something that doesn’t exist today. The Polish foreign Minister disabused that by saying there is something of a clash because the EU seeks to remove borders, not to redraw them.

He also detected a hardening of Russian authoritarianism and wondered if there was a competition between the Russian President and Prime Minister.

Listen to the meeting: The Future of Georgia (mp3 38mb 1:23:15) First speaker is Temuri Yakobashvili, State Minister of Georgia

Photos of the Meeting: Flickr Set

Photos From Gori from our contact

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