Monday, 6 April 2009

Former ambassador fears Georgia isolated by its leaders

‘Three Thousand Versts’ has previously touched upon a new willingness within Georgia to question its government’s military adventurism in South Ossetia. The Caucasian state’s last ambassador to Moscow has been one high profile critic of President Saakashvili’s regime and its belligerent attitude towards Russia. In an article on Open Democracy, Ambassador Kitsmarishvili argues that Tbilisi should follow Barack Obama’s example and seek to ‘reset’ its relations with the Kremlin.

The pertinent question for Georgians is whether their government will eventually replicate the new trend toward diplomacy emanating from the White House. If it does not, the popular clamour against Saakashvili will surely continue to grow. Otherwise Georgia risks becoming increasingly isolated, as the international community draws the conclusion that its authorities ‘prefer the language of force, pressure and confrontation between the superpowers’.

With bilateralism and diplomacy becoming the preferred means by which their western allies pursue international relations, there is real danger that states like Georgia and Ukraine will appear increasingly out of step. It is particularly important that the former demonstrates its commitment to developing a framework which will avoid further conflict in the Caucasus region. To this end it is necessary to engage with Moscow.

Kistmarishvili suggests that Georgia’s civil society is increasingly at odds with Saakashvili’s government. It is clear that he sees progress being made, only when international participants, the diplomatic community and civil representatives take the lead, rather than the current leadership. There is a suggestion that there could be conflict within the country should its electorate not be given a chance to reject Saakashvili and his regime.

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