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NATO Parliamentarians Call for Inquiry into War
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 19 Nov.'08 / 17:04

A resolution passed by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly session in Valencia on November 18, called on NATO-member states to contribute to an independent international inquiry to determine the chain of events that led to the August war.

The resolution condemns “disproportionate use of force” by Russian and "the occupation of Georgian territory by Russian forces", as well as "the ethnic cleansing of Georgians from South Ossetia" and "the failure of Russia to comply fully with the ceasefire requirements and its recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia."

The resolution reads that facts surrounding the outbreak of the war “have not been authoritatively established by objective sources.” The resolution notes that “full cooperation of the governments of the Russian Federation and Georgia is an indispensable prerequisite for a satisfactory outcome of the inquiry.”

While noting that “the increased attacks in August 2008 on Georgian villages by forces inside South Ossetia constituted a serious provocation,” the resolution also says the Assembly was “disappointed that Georgian authorities responded with armed force, which contributed to an escalation of violence.”

The resolution also calls on the NATO-member states “to exert pressure on the Russian Federation to bring about full compliance with the terms of the ceasefire agreement” and also to offer Georgia a Membership Action Plan. The resolution, however, does not make a specific call to grant MAP to Georgia in December, when NATO foreign ministers are scheduled to discuss the issue.

In a separate resolution, also passed on November 18, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly called on the NATO-member states “to re-establish wide-ranging co-operation with Russia in a number of areas, particularly in the military to-military sphere, while stressing that this partnership needs to rest upon common values, particularly respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.”

NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, said while addressing the session on November 18 that the alliance would not chose between good relations with Russia and further enlargement.

“We will not sacrifice one for the other,” he said. “Because to do so would only mean drawing new dividing lines.  Trustful NATO-Russia relations are a strategic asset – a boon to European and indeed global security.  That is why the key tenets of our Russia policy – a policy of constructive engagement – will remain. After the Caucasus conflict, there can be no business as usual with Russia, and we need to seriously review our relationship.  But “no business as usual” still means “business”.”

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