Parliament voted down on November 28 a draft resolution, tabled by the opposition UNM party, which was calling for scrapping format of talks between the Georgian and Russian diplomats and joining Western sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine.
The draft resolution on “Russia’s attempts to annex occupied Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region” was also calling on the Georgian government to take all the measures to push de-occupation of Georgia’s regions among the demands put forth by the international community towards Russia for its aggression against Ukraine.
The draft of this resolution was proposed in response to signing of treaty on “alliance and strategic partnership” between Russia and breakaway Abkhazia. The treaty was condemned by the Georgian government as an “annexation attempt” of Abkhazia by Russia.
Shortly after the first draft of new treaty between Moscow and Sokhumi was unveiled in October, the Georgian Parliament adopted a statement, condemning this move. The statement was drafted by the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority and it was not supported by UNM, because it did not contain calls for revising government’s current policy towards Russia and scrapping of informal talks, led by Georgian PM’s special envoy for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze and Russian deputy foreign minister Grigory Karasin.
The most recent meeting between the two diplomats was held on October 16 at the time when Moscow and Sokhumi were already in the process of preparing new treaty. No date for the next meeting has been set. This format of talks was launched in late December, 2012 mainly to focus on the issues related to trade and economic relations.
UNM’s draft resolution was also calling on the Georgian government to push for application of an agreement which was signed between Tbilisi and Moscow in 2011 in exchange for Georgia’s go-ahead to Russia’s WTO membership. Three years after it was signed, the deal, which was made with mediation of Switzerland, remains unfulfilled.
During the debates on UNM-proposed draft resolution on November 28, GD MP Zviad Kvatchantiradze, deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee for foreign relations, said that scrapping this “communication channel” between Tbilisi and Moscow, would be “unconstructive” as well as “unfavorable” for Georgia at this stage. He also spoke out against calls for joining Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its actions in Ukraine.
In a statement the GD parliamentary majority group has called on the government “to summarize results of dialogue launched with Russia in frames of bilateral format and to determine efficiency of this format for the future.”
UNM lawmakers were accusing the authorities for the policy of “appeasement” towards Russia, which, they says, downgraded issue of Georgia’s occupied regions from the international agenda.
“The choice you are facing is simple,” UNM MP Giorgi Kandelaki told GD lawmakers just before the vote. “You will either support this draft and instruct the government to take very specific measures to counter Russia, or you will support Russia by voting against of this resolution; please support Georgia.”
“Provisions of this draft are not in Georgia’s interests; these are in the interests of the Kremlin,” GD MP Kvatchantiradze said.
Before the draft resolution was put on vote, a group of lawmakers from various political factions were holding consultations in an attempt to come up with a joint draft, but they failed.
MP from Free Democrats party, Viktor Dolidze, who chairs parliamentary committee for European integration, expressed regret that no consensus was possible and said that lawmakers from his party were not going to participate in the voting.