TODAY.AZ / Politics

Zeyno Baran: "Situation in South Ossetia has reached the limit, when Saakashvili was not able to close eyes on the occupation of a part of his land"

09 August 2008 [11:10] - TODAY.AZ
Day.Az interview with Zeyno Baran, director of the program on Eurasian policy of the Hudson Institute (US).
- What do you think of the events, which occurred in Tskhinvali region of Georgia on Friday?

- The situation in South Ossetia is quite serious. It is worsened by the intervention of Russian troops, which clashed with the Georgian militaries directly.

- Do you think the actions of Russian servicemen in the conflict area in Georgia are really far from the peacekeeping?

- I think, the groups, supported by Russia (I mean both South Ossetia and Abkhazia) continue to raise tensions. Decisions in Russia are taken not only by negotiators with US and EU on external political problems but also servicemen and security forces. The previous and current presidents of Russia Putin and Medvedev stated from the very beginning of their coming to power that they will prevent Georgia's NATO accession by all means.

Any provocative actions have been expected primordially in these two separatist regions of Georgia for some unknown reason, while now the situation may get out of control, therefore, it is necessary for Russia to disavow its previous positions and come to the negotiation table with Georgia, NATO, EU and USA.

- Is further military clash between Georgia and Russia possible?

- Yes, unfortunately, there is now a serious threat of war.

- There is an opinion that Saakashvili could not take such a critical step as initiative of release of the occupied lands by force, without White House approval...

- This is a completely wrong opinion. As is known, the diversions in the conflict area continued through the past weeks and the United States called on Georgia not to react to these provocations and continue search of the peaceful way out of the situation. I would like to note that if not for the US intensive attempt to reconcile the parties, the events, we are witnessing now, would have occurred even earlier.

- What do you think Georgian President should do to settle the established situation?

- The situation has previously been kept under control, but after escalation of tensions, Saakashvili was already not able to close eyes on the fact of occupation of a part of his lands.

There is a chance to come to mutual understanding with South Ossetian representatives. It is necessary for the United States, EU and Russia to come to a common denominator during discussions on the said problem in the UN.

- Can the events in South Ossetia influence Nagorno Karabakh conflict in some way?

- Possible threat to Georgia's sovereignty will cause damage to the whole region. Naturally, if the territorial integrity of Georgia is not ensured (by the way, the United States has always supported official Tbilisi in this issue), it will undoubtedly affect the Karabakh problem as well.


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