The Georgian government has come under increasing fire from opposition parties as Russia and breakaway Abkhazia are set to sign new treaty on “alliance and strategic partnership” in Sochi on November 24.
The treaty, which is viewed in Tbilisi as a step towards “annexation” of its breakaway region by Russia, has been high on internal political agenda in Georgia with the main parliamentary opposition, UNM, claiming that the treaty was made possible partly because of GD ruling coalition’s policy of “appeasement” towards Russia, which, it says, downgraded issue of Georgia’s occupied regions from the international agenda; non-parliamentary opposition party, Democratic Movement-United Georgia (DMUG), led by ex-parliament speaker Nino Burjanadze, is blaming the government’s rhetoric about, what Burjanadze calls, “illusionary NATO membership” for Russia’s intention to sign the new treaty with Abkhazia.
On November 24 the UNM parliamentary minority group again called on the ruling GD coalition to revise its policy towards Russia.
Speaking on behalf of the party, MP Davit Bakradze, the leader of UNM parliamentary minority group, said that with the new treaty Russia is “finalizing annexation.” He said the Georgian government “has done nothing and met this day unprepared.”
He said that although this treaty will have “no legitimacy”, the Georgian government should undertake number of “concrete steps to counter this process of annexation.”
UNM has again called on the Parliament to adopt a resolution, which would call on the government to join Western sanctions, imposed on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, and to scrap informal dialogue between Moscow and Tbilisi, led by Georgian PM’s special envoy for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, and Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin.
“This so called Karasin-Abashidze format should be canceled or suspended for an indefinite time, because continuing with business as usual relations with Russia would mean that we ourselves are putting up with annexation of Abkhazia,”
UNM’s draft resolution also calls on the Georgian authorities to bring case against Russia in “international courts.”
“We call on the ruling coalition to put aside our differences and to jointly elaborate measures against annexation,” MP Bakradze said.
A similar draft resolution put forth by the UNM has once already been rejected by the GD ruling majority in the Parliament; the legislative body instead adopted on October 17 a GD-proposed statement, condemning Russia’s “attempt to annex occupied Abkhazia.”
Also on November 24, leader of DMUG party, Nino Burjanadze, said that the new treaty between Moscow and Sokhumi would “further minimize chances” for resolving Georgia’s territorial problems.
“The Georgian government has taken not a single step to address this issue; they have no policy whatsoever in this regard,” Burjanadze said, adding sarcastically: “The only thing the Georgian authorities now can do is to line up in front of NATO flag and take a commemorative photo, if this photo and illusionary NATO membership plan will somehow help this problem, but as we all see it won’t help.”