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					DOCUMENT C/2029                                                      3 December 2008

                            FIFTY-FIFTH SESSION

             European security after the war in Georgia

                    submitted on behalf of the Political Committee
         by Michael Hancock, Rapporteur (United Kingdom, Liberal Group) and
             Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Rapporteur (Greece, Federated Group)
DOCUMENT C/2029                                                      3 December 2008

                                FIFTY-FIFTH SESSION

            European security after the war in Georgia


                 submitted on behalf of the Political Committee
       by Michael Hancock, Rapporteur (United Kingdom, Liberal Group) and
           Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Rapporteur (Greece, Federated Group)
Report transmitted to: the Presidents/Speakers of the 39 national parliaments represented in the
Assembly; the Presidents of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the NATO
Parliamentary Assembly, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the Baltic Assembly, the Nordic
Council, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the CIS Parliamentary
Assembly; the President of the European Parliament; the President of the Council of the European
Union; the President of the European Commission; the EU Commissioner for institutional relations
and communication strategy; the Secretaries General of the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council
of Europe, NATO and the OSCE.
Document C/2029                                                                       3 December 2008

                               European security after the war in Georgia


                            submitted on behalf of the Political Committee
                by Michael Hancock, Rapporteur (United Kingdom, Liberal Group) and
                     Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Rapporteur (Greece, Federated Group)

                                          TABLE OF CONTENTS

               on European security after the war in Georgia
               submitted by Michael Hancock (United Kingdom, Liberal Group), Vice-Chairman, and
               Miltiadis Varvitsiotis (Greece, Federated Group), Rapporteurs
                     I.    Introduction
                     II.   The war
                     III. Monitors and observers
                           (a) The EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM Georgia)
                           (b) OSCE
                           (c) UNOMIG
                     IV. An independent investigation
                     V.    Reconciliation talks in Geneva
                     VI. Other sources of instability in the Caucasus
                           (a) Nagorno-Karabakh
                           (b) The North Caucasus
                     VII. Georgia
                           (a) Georgia’s view of the present situation
                           (b) Georgian withdrawal from Treaties
                           (c) A Parliamentary Study Commission in Georgia
                           (d) Democratic progress in Georgia
                           (e) The EU and Georgia
                     VIII. Russia
                           (a) Russia’s view on the war
                           (b) Russia’s mutual assistance treaties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia
                           (c) Russia’s strengths and weaknesses
                           (d) The EU: engaging with Russia
                           (e) US – Russia relations: an agenda for strategic cooperation
                           (f) A new European security treaty?
                     IX. NATO after the war in a partner country
                           (a) NATO’s relations with Georgia
                           (b) NATO’s relations with Russia
                           (c) NATO enlargement in the South Caucasus

    Adopted unanimously by the Committee.


                   (d) The Article 5 security guarantee of the North Atlantic Treaty
              X.   Europe’s energy strategy

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                                    DRAFT RECOMMENDATION
                             on European security after the war in Georgia

        The Assembly,

(i)     Dismayed by the fact that two OSCE and Council of Europe member states have gone to war
on account of a dispute which should have been settled by peaceful means, and that since the 1992
ceasefire agreement in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, there have never been any serious prospects for
a negotiated settlement acceptable to all parties involved;
(ii)    Aware of the alleged violations of the European Convention on Human Rights, the 1949
Geneva Conventions and other international treaties, and accepting that any legal action arising as a
consequence of those acts is the responsibility of the appropriate bodies, including the International
Court of Justice,
(iii)    Aware of the widely divergent views of Georgia and Russia about who is responsible for
starting the war, and assuming that, in accordance with the European Union decision, this question
will be examined by an independent international committee of inquiry which will also look at what
happened in this brief but tragic war;
(iv)    Deploring the fact that as a consequence of that war, relations between Russia, on the one
hand, and the EU, NATO and the United States, on the other, have deteriorated precisely at a time
when international cooperation is of vital importance for tackling unprecedented challenges to the
world’s security and economy;
(v)      Deploring Russia’s precipitate recognition of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia without any
prior attempt to involve the United Nations Security Council in a negotiated process;
(vi)     Noting Russia’s decision that this recognition is irreversible, but observing that none of its
closest allies has expressed support for the independence of the two breakaway regions2, which, given
their economic, demographic and geographic positions, are bound to be dependent on Russia;
(vii)  Welcoming the positive atmosphere during the November rounds of the Geneva
Reconciliation Talks, which enabled the working groups on security and stability and on the return of
IDPs and refugees to hold informal meetings with all the parties involved;
(viii) Taking the view, however, that the EU cannot accept the status quo in Georgia and that the
Geneva process should continue, with the aim of restoring security and stability to the region, but also
Georgia’s territorial integrity;
(ix)    Welcoming the success of the EU Presidency in brokering a ceasefire between Georgia and
Russia at an early stage, thus enhancing the EU’s credibility as a foreign policy actor and valuable
counterpart to Russia with regard to security issues on the Eurasian continent;
(x)     Considering that the EU should use its newly acquired status as an honest broker in conflicts
in the wider European area in order to renew and strengthen its efforts to contribute to resolving the
remaining so-called frozen conflicts in Europe, including those relating to Nagorno-Karabakh and
(xi)    Welcoming the early deployment of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia with the
aim of stabilising the situation and reducing the risk of a resumption of hostilities, while monitoring
the implementation of the six-point agreement reached on 12 August;
(xii)    Considering it unacceptable, however, that this mission is still being denied access to the area
beyond the administrative border with the two breakaway regions, thereby restricting its activities de
facto to monitoring only the Georgian side’s implementation of the six-point agreement;

 At present, only Nicaragua has followed Russia’s initiative and recognised the independence of Abkhazia and
South Ossetia.


(xiii) Considering that the furtherance of peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic area depends on
the security concerns of all the countries involved being duly taken into account;
(xiv) Recognising that the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact was a logical consequence of the end of
the cold war but that compelling arguments were put forward for the continued existence of NATO;
(xv)     Considering that despite repeated assurances concerning the non-aggressive and increasingly
political nature of NATO, its post-cold war enlargement to include new members around Russia’s
borders could only exacerbate the Russian perception of encirclement;
(xvi) Noting that NATO’s efforts to engage Russia through a NATO-Russia Founding Act,
followed by the establishment of a NATO-Russia Council, were in no way intended to give Russia any
right of veto over NATO decisions, thus reducing their partnership to mere technical cooperation;
(xvii) Recalling also that NATO refused to establish formal links with the Russian-led Collective
Security Organisation in order not to legitimate Russia’s regional role in central Asia;
(xviii) Considering that while Russia cannot have a right of veto over NATO enlargement decisions,
NATO must, when taking such decisions, have regard to whether they may be perceived by its
neighbours as a threat, which could be detrimental to the security and stability of the region; nor does
it add value to the Alliance;
(xix) Taking the view that for the time being plans to offer NATO membership to Georgia and
Ukraine should be put on hold given that this would not enhance security in the Euro-Atlantic area;
(xx)    Recognising that the OSCE, especially after the 1990 Paris Summit, offered a security pact in
which all the countries of the Euro-Atlantic community in the widest sense could participate on an
equal footing;
(xxi) Noting, however, that the OSCE was not designed to provide any kind of automatic security
guarantees to its members in the event of an attack on their territory;
(xxii) Noting Russia’s proposal for negotiations on a new European Security Treaty which should
include equal security for all the countries in the Euro-Atlantic zone without undermining NATO, the
EU or the OSCE;
(xxiii) Considering that the aim of equal security for all states in the Euro-Atlantic region pursued by
Russia in its proposal for a new European Security Treaty is incompatible with Russia’s policy of
maintaining or re-establishing a sphere of influence beyond its national borders;
(xxiv) Noting that the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) Treaty, which was the basis for
major reductions of strategic arsenals and made provision for inspection and verification measures, is
due to expire by the end of 2009 and considering that the signatories to this treaty should now take it
(xxv) Noting that NATO and Russia have been unable to agree on the implementation of the 1999
Istanbul Commitments for troop withdrawal under the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty,
leading to the present deadlock, whereby NATO members have not ratified the Treaty while Russia,
having ratified it, has now suspended observance of its treaty obligations;
(xxvi) Regretting that the START and CFE Treaties, both vital instruments for enhancing security in
Europe, are now petering out without any serious prospect in view of timely negotiations leading to
new efforts in the field of arms control and confidence-building;
(xxvii) Noting that the United States decided unilaterally to denounce the Anti-Ballistic Missile
Treaty and to install missile defence components in Poland and the Czech Republic on the grounds
that this was needed in order to protect the United States from ballistic missile threats from states such
as Iran and North Korea;
(xxviii) Noting that the installation of missile defence components in Europe and elsewhere was
perceived by Russia as a first step towards establishing a global Missile Defence System ultimately
capable of neutralising the mainstay of its strategic forces, its ballistic missile arsenal, thus leaving the

                                                                                   DOCUMENT C/2029

country vulnerable; also of the view that the United States and others should take those perceptions
into account even if they deem them to be unfounded;
(xxix) Considering that both Russia and the United States should cease their rhetoric with regard to
mounting threats, which already proved to be such an ineffective way of communicating during the
cold war and which could inadvertently lead to armed conflict;
(xxx) Noting that, notwithstanding the recent cooling of relations, Russia remains fully aware of the
growing number of interests that it shares with its western partners and continues to cooperate on a
number of vital security issues such as the EU peacekeeping operation in Chad, the pacification and
reconstruction of Afghanistan, and the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and proliferation;
(xxxi) Supporting the EU’s efforts to intensify its relations with Georgia, among other things through
its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan and the recently agreed comprehensive
assistance package;
(xxxii) Welcoming the EU’s recent proposal to reinforce its Neighbourhood Policy through an
“Eastern Partnership” which sets more ambitious objectives regarding the movement of persons, trade
and financial aid and makes provision for new multilateral cooperation among the countries
concerned, with the EU enabling a dialogue on issues of common interest such as energy security,
good governance, stability and economic integration;
(xxxiii) Endorsing the notion that while the new Eastern Partnership should not be considered as a first
step towards EU membership, neither does it rule out the possibility of membership at some stage in
the future;
(xxxiv) Considering that the growing interdependence between the EU and Russia, over the last two
decades in particular, in such areas as trade, investment, energy supply and external security is a
compelling reason for engaging Russia in cooperative efforts and negotiating a partnership agreement
to provide a framework for future relations,


1.       Work energetically with all interested neighbourhood partners to implement the objectives of
the Eastern Partnership which has the potential to make an important contribution to security and
stability in a region in which NATO enlargement is likely to be counterproductive;
2.       Engage, as decided, in negotiations on an enhanced partnership agreement with Russia while
making clear that it is unacceptable for Russia to seek to extend its sphere of influence to independent
countries beyond its borders with the sovereign right to determine the parameters of their foreign
3.      Prepare the ground, together with Russia, the United States, NATO and the OSCE, for
discussions on a renewed security framework in Europe, building on previous achievements, that
guarantees equal security for all;
4.     Step up efforts to seek solutions to all remaining so-called frozen conflicts in Europe, taking
advantage of the EU’s enhanced credibility as a foreign policy actor and as a valuable counterpart to
Russia with regard to issues of security and stability;
5.      Further strengthen its relations with Georgia by providing full assistance for repairing the
material and economic damage caused by the war and helping it to implement the reforms needed for
its consolidation as a modern state based on democracy, the rule of law, good governance and a free
market economy;
6.     Demand that Russia honour its agreement with the EU, ensuring that the EUMM is able to
perform its tasks within the administrative borders of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia;
7.     Continue to promote a clear integrated energy policy, which will offer more and clearer
opportunities to create procedures for settling disputes and give investors more certainty.


                                 EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM
         submitted by Michael Hancock (United Kingdom, Liberal Group), Vice-Chairman, and
                     Miltiadis Varvitsiotis (Greece, Federated Group), Rapporteurs

                                               I. Introduction

1.     Last year a delegation from the Assembly visited Georgia in order to take stock of the situation.
The Chairman of the Political Committee, Pedro Agramunt, then prepared a report on Georgia’s quest
for integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures3 which was discussed at the Assembly’s December
2007 plenary session.
2.     As explained in the report, it was unambiguously clear from meetings at the highest level with
the authorities in the country that Georgia’s highest priority remained the reinstatement of its territorial
integrity, an issue on which both government and opposition parties were in full agreement.
3.     The report also drew attention to the fact that Georgia’s relations with Russia were in a very
poor state: the consequence, according to the Georgian authorities, of Russia’s attitude and its secret
desire to bring Georgia back under the full sway of its influence.
4.     Georgia looked for unfailing support both to the EU and its member states and to the United
States and regarded integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures as the highest priority on its foreign
policy agenda. It had as its aim early membership of NATO, to be followed later by full integration
into the EU.
5.     The report noted that in 2007 the country’s defence budget had tripled as compared to 2006 and
represented over 26% of overall state expenditure. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer,
on a visit to Georgia in October 2007, referred to the need for greater transparency on the part of the
country’s political establishment about national defence spending as against other priorities like
poverty reduction and education, rule of law and continued progress in ensuring the independence of
the judiciary.
6.    With regard to the secessionist conflicts, he made it clear that there was no alternative to a
peaceful settlement, an opinion shared by our own Assembly in its recommendation.4
7.   Elections held in January and May 2008 respectively have since confirmed President
Saakashvili and his ruling party as the country’s leaders and NATO has postponed a decision to grant
Georgia a Membership Action Plan, while holding out the prospect of future membership.
8.    In early August, Georgia and Russia fought a short but violent war, resulting in self-declared
independence for both Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Russia recognised. President Nicolas
Sarkozy of France, as the current holder of the EU Presidency, brokered a cease-fire which also
envisaged negotiations between the different parties involved in the conflict.
9.     For a number of reasons, the South Caucasus and the neighbouring Caspian region are
geostrategically important regions and the consequences of the brief war in Georgia will reverberate
through international politics for some time to come – with implications for relations between the EU
and Russia, the United States and Russia, the EU’s external relations, neighbourhood and enlargement
policies and energy strategy and, finally, for NATO, its possible enlargement and its relations with
10. The present report envisages dealing with these issues, although not necessarily exhaustively,
given their virtually infinite number of ramifications and interrelated problems.
11. Finally, your Rapporteurs would like to pay tribute to our colleague, Mr Robert Walter, who has
been kind enough to accept involvement in the preparation of the report at moments when, due to
unforeseen circumstances, they were themselves unable to meet their engagements.

    Assembly Document 1980.
    Recommendation 807, adopted by the Assembly on 3 December 2007.

                                                                                      DOCUMENT C/2029

                                                    II. The war

12. A good deal of effort is going into trying to discover who started the war. But there can be no
doubt that the relations between Russia and Georgia had been in a bad state for some time already, as
noted in the abovementioned Assembly report. Neither was there any serious prospect of a negotiated
settlement of the status of South Ossetia that would be acceptable to all parties involved. Moreover it
appears that both Russia and Georgia had been preparing carefully for a showdown in every possible
13. Notably, in July 2008 Russia and Georgia carried out simultaneous military manoeuvres.
Russia’s was a major military exercise in the northern Caucasus near the Georgian border involving
more than 8 000 troops, including those from its 58th Army, regarded as the Russian army’s best-
trained and most combat-ready unit, which afterwards spearheaded the military action in Georgia.
14. Georgian army units for their part for three weeks trained together with US troops near Tbilisi
in order to enhance military readiness.
15. There is little doubt that Georgia’s military strategy was significantly flawed from the
beginning, based as it was on an over-confident assumption about its combat capabilities, an
underestimation of the Russian response and an inadequate perception of the threat: Georgia’s
strategic assessment disregarded any direct threat from Russia.
16. Russia wasted no time in setting up two fronts, one in Abkhazia and one in South Ossetia, to
fight the Georgian forces. It succeeded in annihilating them by decimating its fundamental military
capabilities, pursuing retreating units, destroying a maximum amount of heavy equipment and
specifically targeting all Georgian military facilities and bases, even those not involved in the conflict,
in order to disrupt Georgia’s critical military infrastructure.5
17. Having pushed Georgian troops out of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Russian forces
destroyed Georgia’s air response capability by exploiting the lack of interoperability between the
Georgian air surveillance command posts and air defence units.6
18. Russia was also quick to destroy its opponent’s naval vessels. Critics claim that Georgia had
neglected the development of maritime defence resources in favour of starting up, training and
equipping a fleet of coastguard ships with no real defence capabilities.
19. Russia also seems to have combined its military attack with a cyber assault which put many
official Georgian internet sites out of service. Georgia banned transmissions by Russian television
channels into Georgia.
20. In view of Georgia’s deficiencies – its inability to conduct large-scale combat operations against
a major armed force, lack of any combined-arms experience or training, insufficient logistic support
and inadequate air defences – its efforts to achieve its operational goals in South Ossetia were doomed
from the outset.
21. It should be noted that the United States’ Georgian Train and Equip Programme (GTEP) had
trained 2 600 Georgian military for participation in counter-terrorism operations, while the aim of its
Sustainment and Stability Operations Programme (SSOP) was to prepare Georgian troops for
participation in the US Operation Iraqi Freedom.
22. This had caused a split in the armed forces, with a small number of well-trained, well-equipped
and highly paid élite soldiers and large numbers of ill-trained, poorly equipped and low-paid
conscripts, creating problems of unified command and discipline during operations.
23. Following the conflict, Georgian authorities started evaluating the military operations. As a
result, a number of high-ranking military officers have been dismissed and replaced. The government
is also planning to upgrade the equipment and materiel of the four existing brigades, bolster the air
force and integrate its air defence systems in order to protect the whole Georgian airspace.

    Jane’s Defence Weekly, 20 August 2008.
    Renaud François, European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre (ESISC).


24. The warring parties have gone to considerable lengths in accusing each other of horrific war
crimes, ethnic cleansing and even genocide. These issues will be dealt with in the appropriate
international institutions, in particular in the UN courts and the European Court of Human Rights.
Mention has also been made of thousands of victims, most of them civilians. It may take time to
establish the truth, though some light has now been shed on the death toll of the war.
25. A report released by the Georgian Government puts the official Georgian death toll from the
August war with Russia, as of 11 September 2008, at 326, with losses of 155 civilians, 154 Defence
Ministry and 17 Interior Ministry personnel, and 14 soldiers still missing.
26. After initial claims by Russian and South Ossetian sources that at least 2 000 civilians had been
killed, the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office has now documented 154 civilian deaths, while a
Commission of Russian and Ossetian public figures has compiled a list of over 300.
27. Human Rights Watch maintains it is not clear whether these reports distinguish between
civilians and members of volunteer militias, and if so, how. Those serving with volunteer militias are
regarded as combatants under international humanitarian law and as such should not be counted
among civilian casualties.
28. Human Rights Watch expresses similar caveats about casualty figures provided by the Georgian
authorities and suggests that the whole issue of the number of casualties from the war still requires
extensive research.
                                        III. Monitors and observers

(a) The EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM Georgia)
29. On 15 September, the EU foreign affairs ministers approved the joint action and operations
concept for the EU monitoring mission in Georgia. The mission’s short-term objective is to contribute
to stabilising the situation and reducing the risk of a resumption of hostilities, in full compliance with
the six-point agreement reached on 12 August and the application measures finalised later, including
the 8 September agreement between President Dmitri Medvedev and the European delegation led by
President Nicolas Sarkozy.
30. The mission has no executive authority. Apart from its two specific tasks (stabilisation of the
whole of Georgia and implementation of the six-point agreement), the EUMM is tasked with
monitoring the security of links in the fields of transport, infrastructure and collective services as well
as various other aspects relating, for example, to the safe return of internally displaced persons
(IDPs)and refugees in a situation that has been restored to normality. As a consequence, it will have to
work to establish a climate of confidence.
31. The EUMM comes under the EU’s civilian chain of command. Led by Hansjörg Haber, the
mission has been fully operational since 1 October 2008. The mission’s headquarters are located in
Tbilisi, with regional offices in Gori, Poti and Zugdidi. It has a staff of 352, including 260 observers
and support staff, and a total budget of 35 million euros.
32. During the first phase the mission was established in an informal way in order to be able to meet
the very short deadline for deployment.
33. Some EU member states have complained that it does not have a capacity for situation analysis,
but in the initial phase its aim was to rapidly deploy on the ground for observation purposes. It is
hoped that during the second phase, starting on 1 February 2009, it will be able to deploy on both sides
of the administrative border with a view to a more comprehensive implementation of its mandate.
34. Russia supports the view of the South Ossetian and Abkhazian de facto authorities that the
EUMM monitors should be denied access to the two breakaway territories as long as the EU does not
recognise their independence.
35. The EU for its part claims that the mission’s mandate covers the whole territory of Georgia, a
legal standpoint which preserves Georgia’s legal position. Moreover, the EUMM receives complaints

                                                                                   DOCUMENT C/2029

from both sides about the lack of security around the administrative border. Such complaints cannot be
investigated impartially if the mission is restricted in its movements.
36. The six-point agreement of 12 August 2008 stipulates that Georgian armed forces must return to
their places of cantonment, a measure designed to end hostilities.
37. On the other hand, Georgia being a sovereign state, its armed forces cannot at all times be
confined to their barracks, if only because they need to conduct exercises and perform other tasks of
armed forces in peacetime. That is why the EUMM has negotiated voluntary restrictions for Georgian
armed forces in the immediate vicinity of the administrative border.
38. There are lightly-armed Georgian police and special police forces on the ground close to the
administrative border which are being monitored by the EUMM.
39. Contacts between the EUMM and the Russian side take place at a low level which has no
authority to take decisions.
40. At present, Russian peacekeepers are being replaced by regular troops which will be stationed in
the breakaway regions under the new mutual assistance agreements with Russia. In this transitional
period, all EUMM efforts to establish firm, working-level contacts on the spot have been unsuccessful.
41. The mission’s only means of monitoring the area beyond the administrative border are direct
viewing and interviews with travelling citizens.
42. It can glean information from the occasional images provided by the EU Satellite Centre in
Torrejón, but not on a regular basis. The EUMM is not monitoring maritime or air movements but it is
aware that the UN observer mission in Georgia (UNIMOG) is monitoring maritime movements in the
harbours of Poti and Suchumi.
43. Some outside experts are critical of the fact that the EUMM does not use aircraft, helicopters or
UAVs for observation purposes, which considerably limits its ability to follow what is happening on
the other side of the administrative border.
44.   Conversely, EUMM monitors have observed UAVs being used by Russian troops.
45. In view of the EUMM’s limited observation possibilities, some experts have pointed out that
there is a risk of Russia trying to create a situation in which the mission is confined to ensuring
Georgia’s compliance with the 12 August and 8 September agreements, while Russia itself keeps a
free hand in the breakaway regions where it is not subjected to any restrictions or monitoring.
(b) OSCE
46. One of the immediate consequences of the war in Georgia was that eight unarmed military
monitoring officers attached to the OSCE mission to Georgia who were in charge of and reporting on
the 1992 ceasefire in the South Ossetian conflict zone had to pull out of the conflict zone after
hostilities resumed on 7 August.
47.   On the role of the OSCE monitors, the 8 September 2008 agreement stipulates that:
      “The OSCE monitors will continue to carry out their mandate in the area of their responsibility
      in accordance with the number and scheme of dislocation, as it was before August 7, 2008
      without prejudice to possible corrections in future through a decision of the OSCE Permanent
Theoretically, this means that the eight unarmed OSCE monitors will be able to return to their office in
Tskhinvali and continue monitoring the 15-km radius around the city, as they did before hostilities
erupted, but they have been refused entry into South Ossetia.
48. On 19 August, the OSCE Permanent Council agreed to send 20 more monitors to Georgia, in
addition to the original eight, to observe “the agreed ceasefire and support humanitarian assistance” in
the South Ossetian conflict zone. These additional monitors, could, however, only be deployed to
“areas adjacent to South Ossetia”.


49. The decision also envisaged a further increase in the number of monitors to a total of 100, but
the details of this were to be discussed at a later date. Russia was against their immediate deployment.
50. The Russian military authorities aired complaints about the OSCE observers’ performance in
the initial stages of the conflict, claiming that the Georgian side had informed them about the planned
incursion but that they did not then pass on the information to the Russian peacekeepers.
51. Talks on the modalities of the deployment of the additional 80 OSCE observers broke down for
want of a basis for consensus.
52. Moreover, Russia is against deployment of any OSCE observers within the territory of South
Ossetia, regarding such a move as an attempt to revise the agreement reached between President
Medvedev and President Sarkozy on 8 September, which provides that the OSCE observer mandate
should be subject “without prejudice to possible corrections in future through a decision of the OSCE
Permanent Council”.
53. Russia takes the view that the aim of the deployment of additional OSCE observers is to prevent
“a reoccurrence of Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia and Abkhazia”.
54. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that attempts to allow “more international bureaucrats
inside South Ossetia and then to announce that this is the territory of Georgia amounts to playing
ideological games at the expense of the real goals of providing security to the republics and rebuilding
South Ossetia”.7
55. During a visit he made to the region from 14-20 September in order to assess the inter-ethnic
situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Knut
Vollebaek was able to travel in Abkhazia but was denied access to South Ossetia. He has stated that
the accounts of IDPs whom he met and reports by international humanitarian agencies, raised “serious
concern about the situation in South Ossetia and the adjacent areas under Russian control”.
56. On 7 November 2008, the international press published newly available accounts by three
OSCE military monitors who had been stationed in Tskinvali during the night of 7 to 8 August 2008.
It would appear from these that the Georgian military attacked Tskinvali indiscriminately with artillery
and rocket fire, but that no shelling of Georgian villages was heard in the hours preceding the attack.8
57. Georgia contested these accounts and called for an independent investigation, while Russia said
it wanted to get to the truth about what was said by the OSCE observers and to whom their reports
were presented.
58. The OSCE mission in Georgia said that it would “not comment on statements of its former
members made in an individual capacity”.
59. The United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) was given the mandate – limited
to the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict – to monitor observance of the 1994 Moscow agreement on a
ceasefire and separation of forces between the two sides.
60. Before the war in August, the mission assisted Germany’s efforts to put forward a plan for the
settlement of the Georgia-Abkhaz conflict, but this quickly turned out to be unsuccessful.
61. After Georgia’s annulment of the 1994 Moscow Agreement on 29 August 2008, the de facto
authorities in Abkhazia, considering that they were no longer bound by the restrictions under that
agreement, started to reinforce their “state border”.
62. After a partial suspension of activities due to violence, UNIMOG has resumed its tasks in the
districts of Gali and Zugdidi. However, it has not been able to resume its regular patrolling of the
Kodori Valley since its team withdrew on 9 August.

   Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaking at a hearing of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Federal
Council of the Russian Federation.
  International Herald Tribune, 7 November 2008.

                                                                                       DOCUMENT C/2029

63. The war in August 2008 has significantly changed the context in which UNOMIG has operated
over the past 14 years. It is not yet known which features, if any, of the 1994 Moscow Agreement that
forms the basis for the mission mandate will be retained once the current talks in Geneva have been
64. According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in his 6 October 2008 report, there is also
considerable uncertainty about the future status of the mission’s current area of responsibility, which
includes the security zone along the Abkhaz administrative border, where no military presence is
authorised, the limited arms zone, where there can be no heavy military materiel, and the Kodori
65. He also considers it unlikely that the CIS peacekeeping forces will play a role in force
separation activities between the two parties.9
66. The United Nations Security Council has decided to extend the mandate for the United Nations
Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) until 15 February 2009, the date on which the Geneva talks
are supposed to end. In view of the scant progress made so far in those talks, however, that deadline
may not be met.
                                      IV. An independent investigation

67. The two parties to the war in Georgia have widely divergent, if not diametrically opposed,
views on how the war started and was waged. The discussion flared up again recently, when OSCE
observers’ accounts of their experience in the early hours of the war became publicly known.10
68. The EU has now nominated Mrs Heidi Tagliavini, a Swiss diplomat and former Head of
UNOMIG (2002-2006), to lead a committee of inquiry into the conflict, which is to submit its
conclusions on 31 July 2009.11
                                     V. Reconciliation talks in Geneva

69. The six-point agreement also envisaged talks between Russian and Georgian representatives
with a view to bringing the parties to the conflict together to discuss the following issues:
      – stability and security in the region;
      – the return of refugees and IDPs on the basis of internationally recognised principles and
        established post-conflict resolution practice;
      – other issues as mutually agreed between the parties.
70. Analysts have noted that it was a serious omission not to include the status of the breakaway
regions among the discussion points.
71. It is also said that Russia would have liked these to include the disarmament and constitutional
neutrality of Georgia, preventing it from joining any security alliance, but this has not been confirmed
by Russian official sources.
72. The talks were supposed to take place on a bi-monthly basis with a view to reaching agreement
before the expiry of the UNOMIG mission’s mandate in mid-February 2009, and they are being held
under the triple chairmanship of the EU representative for Georgia, Pierre Morel, UN representative
Johan Verbeke and the OSCE Secretary-General, Marc Perrin de Brichambault.
73.   Efforts to hold the first meetings on 15 October ended in failure.
74. Russia and the de facto governments of the breakaway regions argued that South Ossetia and
Abkhazia can engage in dialogue only as “entities of international law” and equal participants in the

  Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, UN Document S/2008/631.
   International Herald Tribune, 7 November 2008.
   Swiss Info. CH, 21 November 2008.


75. Georgia was against representatives of these regions participating in the talks as separate
delegations. It was prepared to negotiate a compromise, however, and suggested that they could be
part of the Russian delegation.
76. The Georgian delegation to the talks was prepared to meet the Abkhaz and South Ossetian
representatives in informal working groups outside the official plenary session, where negotiators
attend in an individual capacity without identifying the entities they represent.
77. In that case, however, Georgia insists that the Abkhaz and South Ossetian communities loyal to
the Georgian Government should also be represented.
78. A new round of talks was planned for 18-19 November 2008, and this time things worked out
better. As co-organiser, the EU had chosen an informal approach so as not to offend sensibilities. This
enabled all those involved to participate, including representatives of the de facto governments of
Abkhazia and South Ossetia and representatives of the Abkhaz government-in-exile and the South
Ossetian provisional administration, both supported by the Georgian Government. Other participants
were representatives from Georgia, Russia, the United States, the EU, UN and OSCE.
79. There were meetings of two working groups, one on security and stability issues and the other
on the return of IDPs and refugees.
80. According to Georgian sources, all participants agreed that the security situation on the ground
remains highly volatile and should constitute the focus of the future discussions in Geneva. They also
agreed in principle to elaborate a day-to-day incident prevention and management mechanism, to
reflect upon a cease-fire/peacekeeping regime setting out the rules for the minimal security framework
along the administrative border and to establish crossing points in order to ensure that movement of
the local population is unhindered.
81. At the working group on IDPs and refugees there was a general consensus that the
internationally recognised right of the IDPs to safe and dignified return to their places of residence
should be observed.
                             VI. Other sources of instability in the Caucasus

(a) Nagorno-Karabakh
82. For a detailed account of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, the 1994 ceasefire and the peace
talks under the auspices of the Minsk Group, an OSCE body co-chaired by Russia, the United States
and France, reference may be made to a previous Assembly report.12 Suffice it to say that despite
many initiatives and sustained efforts over the past 14 years, very little progress has been made
towards achieving a lasting solution to this conflict, which is a permanent threat to stability in the
South Caucasus.
83. It seems, however, that the war in Georgia has woken up the parties most closely involved –
Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia – to the fact that the stalled peace process may in the end lead to
further violence, with disastrous consequences for the region as a whole.
84. Azerbaijan views the conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh as its greatest security
challenge. Another armed conflict could deal a fatal blow to its lucrative position as a transit country
for Caspian oil and gas towards the West. Since the war in Georgia, it has abandoned all references to
retaking Nagorno-Karabakh by force.
85. A recent report by the International Crisis Group has criticised what it calls a dangerous arms
race, set off by Azerbaijan’s rapidly expanding military budget. It concedes, however, that recent
events in the region have made it less likely in the short term that Azerbaijan will try to regain the

   See Assembly Document 1879 adopted on 30 November 2004: “Stability and security in the South Caucasus”
submitted on behalf of the Political Committee by Jean-Pierre Masseret (France, Socialist Group) and Marco
Zacchera (Italy, Federated Group), Rapporteurs.

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occupied territories by force, among other things because a new war with Armenia would prompt
Russian retaliation.13
86. Armenia, which receives a large part of its imports from Russia via road transport through
Georgia, the transit country for 70% of its foreign trade, faced an acute crisis when main roads in
Georgia were closed during the war. This opened its eyes to the fact that it may be far too dependent
on Russia, prompting it to make efforts to improve its relations with its neighbours, starting with
87. It is now endeavouring to normalise its relations with Turkey by establishing diplomatic ties,
opening the border and organising direct contacts between the two governments so as to be able to
discuss any issues that may arise between two neighbouring countries. It has not made Turkey’s
recognition of alleged genocide a precondition for those steps.14
88. A first hopeful sign was the 6 September 2008 visit of President Gül of Turkey to Yerevan at
the invitation of President Sargsian of Armenia.
89. It is clearly in Russia’s interests to make active efforts to resolve the conflict over Nagorno-
Karabakh. This could ease the restive situation in its own territories in the northern Caucasus and
further improve its relations with Azerbaijan, a key partner in the oil and gas-rich Caspian Sea basin.
90. Moreover, a resurgence of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh could have a negative impact on
Russia’s relations with Turkey and Iran, which both support the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
91. On 2 November 2008, in a remarkable initiative, President Medvedev invited both President
Aliyev of Azerbaijan and President Sargsian of Armenia to Moscow for discussions. According to the
subsequent joint declaration they “discussed the perspectives for the resolution of the Nagorno-
Karabakh conflict via political means, through the continuation of direct dialogue between Azerbaijan
and Armenia with the mediation of Russia, the United States and France as the co-Chairmen of the
Minsk Group”.
92. President Medvedev later stated that by respecting existing forums, Russia will promote a
settlement in both Nagorno-Karabakh and Transdniestria.15
93. However, much remains to be done on Nagorno-Karabakh, given that the positions of
Azerbaijan and Armenia are still wide apart. Azerbaijan has made it clear that it is prepared to
consider allowing Nagorno-Karabakh some measure of self-determination, but it remains adamant that
this cannot mean independence. It has demanded that Armenia withdraw its troops from Nagorno-
Karabakh and the seven districts in Azerbaijani territory which it occupies and allow the ethnic Azeri
displaced during the war in the early 1990s to return home. At the same time it promises to invest in
that region’s economic revival once the conflict has been settled.
94. Armenia is willing to return some of the occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to
Azerbaijan but insists that the autonomy of Nagorno-Karabakh itself is not negotiable. On
19 November, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, meeting with leaders of political parties,
expressed his readiness to hold a nationwide referendum on a compromise peace agreement.
95. A serious obstacle in the quest for a lasting solution involving a compromise on both sides may
be the people, the Armenians in particular, whose stance on the issue has been radicalised in recent
years by the onslaught of government propaganda.
96. There can be no doubt that the war in Georgia has upset the fragile balance in the South
Caucasus, and the countries of the region – including Russia, which sees it as part of its traditional
sphere of influence – have begun seeking a new equilibrium.

   Azerbaijan: Defence Sector Management and Reform, International Crisis Group, 29 October 2008.
   Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 12 November 2008.
   Address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, 5 November 2008.


97. The failure by Europe and the US to show an interest in seeking a solution to this so-called
frozen conflict could provide many opportunities for Russia and cost the West dearly.
(b) The North Caucasus
98. There can be little doubt that Russia has been stirring up unrest and secessionist movements in
the South Caucasus. However, its recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,
accompanied by rhetoric on the right of self-determination, contrasts sharply with its attitude towards
independence movements in the North Caucasus on its own territory. The devastating war in
Chechnya is the most glaring example, but Russia has tried to present it as being part of the fight
against terrorism, an argument that only partly holds water.
99. On the other hand, the war in Georgia has certainly made Russia realise that frozen conflicts and
moderate unrest can degenerate into violent conflict and war. The challenges which it is facing in the
North Caucasus are serious enough to encourage it to step up its efforts to help resolve the remaining
frozen conflicts in the South Caucasus.
100. Ethnic tensions, secessionist tendencies and Islamist extremism constitute a major potential
source of instability and conflict in the North Caucasus and that region is the theatre of frequent armed
clashes and terrorist acts. Chechen rebels still frequently confront state security forces and there are
continuing conflicts between Chechen clans.
101. Inghusetia and North Ossetia have an unresolved dispute over the Prigorodny district to which
each of them lays claim and over which they fought a war in 1992.
102. In Ingushetia, violence has increased to such a level that there are attacks taking place several
times a week whose targets range from Russian troops to government facilities. The people have
accused President Murat Zyazikov of organising death squads in order to clamp down on anti-
government elements. A popular movement has called on the Russian Government to end his violent
rule, support for which increased further when he was suspected of ordering the killing of one of his
best known opponents, at the end of October 2008, Magomed Evloev. President Medvedev replaced
Murat Zyazikov with Lt. Col. Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, loyal to the Russian Government, who may take
a more militaristic approach towards the resistence movements.
103. In Dagestan, tension is increasing, mainly as a consequence of spill-over from neighbouring
Chechnya and violent action by Shariat Jamaat, a militant extremist Islamist organisation. Violent
incidents between security forces and militant groups during the past year have worsened
considerably, but up until now there has been no public support in Dagestan for secession from Russia.
                                              VII.   Georgia

(a) Georgia’s view of the present situation
104. During your Rapporteur’s visit to Georgia, the authorities emphasised that the government had
taken all possible steps to avoid the recent conflict with Russia. Georgia had included both separatist
regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in a conflict resolution plan, developed by President Saakashvili.
This promised the separatists free economic zones in their regions, very wide autonomy, participation
in the government of Georgia and guarantees for the protection of Abkhazian and South Ossetian
national groups. Georgia had been, and still was ready to make any kind of compromise, “except for
damaging the territorial integrity of the country”. However, Russia had from the outset deliberately
undermined negotiations on these matters, either directly or through the de facto governments to
which it gave the fullest support.
105. President Saakashvili has said that there is still a long way to go towards restoring Georgia’s
territorial integrity and that Georgia would never give up any part of its territory.
106. After Kosovo’s declaration of independence, Russia had stepped up its policy of activism on
behalf of the separatist regions, including military provocation. The Georgian Government had been
aware of the risks and dangers of this policy which was an expression of Russia’s intention to start a
conflict and had tried by every means to avoid it.

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107. Georgia rejects the assessment that its attack on Tskhinvali was a “mistake”, arguing that it had
no alternative given the situation in the region in early August. It acted in self-defence in order to repel
a Russian incursion.
108. The Georgian authorities emphasise that Russia has not withdrawn to its “positions prior to the
7 August 2008” as stipulated in the six-point agreement of 12 August.
109. They argue that Russia does not have the slightest intention of withdrawing from Akhalgori in
South Ossetia and the Kodori Gorge in Abkhazia, regions which were under the full control of the
Georgian Government before 7 August. They also maintain that Russia has not allowed IDPs to return
to their homes, that ethnic cleansing continues in the breakaway regions and that the EU observers are
not allowed to enter these territories, while ever more Russian soldiers are being brought in.
110. The Georgian authorities point out that provocation by Russia and separatist troops takes place
virtually on a daily basis, while the blame is put on Georgia. They say that any incident could be used
by Russia as an excuse to attack Georgia again.
111. Some commentators also note that Russia is deliberately spreading misinformation about
Georgia’s “aggressive steps” and possible terrorist attacks by Georgian Special Forces, either in or
around the conflict zones or within Russia itself, including its major cities. They add that even if
Russia does not launch a new attack, possibly with the aim of toppling the Georgian Government, it
will definitely continue to keep Georgia in suspense, in an attempt to create a situation that is
permanently unstable, while also trying to discredit Georgia in the eyes of the international
112. Tensions in and around the conflict zones have not subsided yet, with each side accusing the
other of armed provocation.
113. Abkhazian officials have denounced “the heightened activity of Georgian subversive groups in
Abkhazia”, including frequent shootings and killings which “are a consequence of the absence of
Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone and the inaction of EU monitors”. The Abkhaz de facto
President, Sergei Bagapsh, has declared that “shooting at any post from Georgian territory will be
punished by retaliatory fire from all weapons we have at our disposal”.16
114. The Georgian authorities have said that there has not been a single case of shooting from their
side and that Abkhaz separatists, supported by Russian troops, were trying to whip up tension.
Accusations of violence on the part of Georgia were intended to destabilise the situation and serve as a
pretext to bring more Russian troops into the parts of Georgia from which they had been pulled back.
(b) Georgian withdrawal from Treaties
115. Immediately after the six-point agreement came into force in August, Georgia decided to
withdraw from membership of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Following this
decision, CIS foreign ministers decided on 8-9 October to suspend Georgia’s membership of the CIS
and also the activities of the CIS peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia.
116. On 27 August, the Georgian Government annulled the treaties providing the legal basis for the
presence of Russian peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It regards these regions as
Russian-occupied territory.
117. The Georgian Parliament has now adopted a law on occupied territory which envisages
restrictions on free movement and economic activities. Under its provisions, de facto state agencies
and officials operating in the occupied areas are regarded as illegal. The law will remain in force until
there is “full restoration” of Georgian jurisdiction over both regions.
118. Under international law, territory is considered “occupied” when it comes under the control or
authority of foreign armed forces, partially or entirely, without the consent of the domestic
government. The reasons or motives that led to the occupation, or are the basis for continued
occupation, are irrelevant.

     International Herald Tribune, 27 October 2008.


(c) A Parliamentary Study Commission in Georgia
119. The Georgian Parliament has now created a temporary parliamentary commission to study the
events before and after the war in August 2008. Both government and opposition parties are
represented in the commission which started hearings on 25 October.
120. The commission’s official title is the Parliamentary Temporary Commission on Military
Aggression and Acts of Russia against the Territorial Integrity of Georgia. Hearings are being held in
public, but the commission meets behind closed doors when matters relating to state secrets are under
(d) Democratic progress in Georgia
121. Critics abroad and in Georgia itself, both from the opposition and the government majority,
have argued that government practice still falls short of western democratic standards and describe the
government’s style as autocratic and dismissive of dissenting views. They have also pointed to what
they perceive as a lack of media freedom.
122. In its progress report on implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007, the
European Commission noted that:
      “Georgia’s democratic institutions are characterised by a strong presidential system, a weak
      separation of institutional powers and an ineffective system of democratic checks and balances.”
123. Regarding the January 2008 presidential elections, the international election observation
mission stated that these were the first genuinely competitive presidential elections, but noted a
number of serious shortcomings, including the misuse of state administrative resources for
campaigning purposes, unbalanced media exposure of candidates, reported acts of voter intimidation,
a lack of clarity and detail in election-day procedures, and irregularities in counting and tabulation. It
recommended that these serious shortcomings be addressed with a view to the upcoming legislative
elections in May 2008.
124. A 2008 US State Department report on Georgia’s democratic progress noted that respect for
freedom of speech, of the press and of assembly deteriorated during the 2007 crisis and that there
continued to be reports of “law enforcement officers acting with impunity” and “government pressure
on the judiciary”.
125. The Georgian Government is aware of this criticism and the President has therefore recently
taken the initiative to propose a number of democratic reforms through the introduction of new
legislation and constitutional amendments, directed, among other things, towards enhancing the
powers of parliament, the independence of the media and the rights of the opposition. A cabinet
reshuffle has taken place under a newly appointed Prime Minister, Grigol Mgaloblishvili, and the new
government has announced that it will liberalise the criminal code and improve protection of private
property rights.
126. An anti-government demonstration, held on 7 November 2008, the anniversary of last year’s
government crackdown on demonstrators, did not attract the same number of supporters as last year.
To many, the peaceful demonstration was also a reminder that despite criticism, the President remains
popular and still in control.
(e) The EU and Georgia
127. The Georgian Government considers further extension of its relations with the EU to be of the
utmost importance.
128. Trade preferences and visa facilitation could support the country in meeting its security needs.
The EU should stand firm in dealing with Russia and not only insist on full implementation of the
12 August and 8 September agreements, but demand also that Russia withdraw its recognition of the
declared independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
129. Georgia wants complete withdrawal of all occupying Russian forces from both breakaway
regions: some authorities have urged their replacement by EU peacekeeping forces. Georgia also

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insists that more EU observers should be present and that they should take a firmer line with the
Russians in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
130. In time, Georgia argues, the EU observers should be replaced by an EU military peacekeeping
force and both regions should be completely demilitarised. Georgia recognises that Russia has made
some headway in meeting its obligations, a fact the EU should acknowledge, but only in so far as there
is no breach of the stipulations made in the EU declaration of 1 September 2008 regarding the conflict.
131. Georgia is aware that it has no leverage over Russia but argues that the EU does, as it is an
essential partner for Russia in areas such as trade, foreign investment, technology and visa facilitation.
132. A donor conference on 21 October under EU and World Bank co-chairmanship produced a total
of US$ 4.55 billion of assistance to Georgia, including an EU pledge of 500 million euros for the years
133. President Sarkozy, who received President Saakashvili on the eve of the 14 November 2008
EU-Russia summit in Nice, gave assurances that he would press for an EU-Georgia partnership similar
to the agreement now being negotiated between the EU and Ukraine.
134. At present, relations between the EU and Georgia are mainly determined by the European
Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Plan which was adopted in November 2006 for a period of five years,
with annual implementation plans based on priorities jointly agreed by both partners.
135. The latest progress report on the implementation of the ENP Plan in Georgia was published on
3 April 2008.17 It made mention of the “difficulties in reconciling the government’s drive for a radical
reduction of the role of government in the economy and the EU regulatory approach reflected in the
Action Plan”.
136. The report mentioned that good progress on judiciary reform, improving state revenues and the
fight against corruption had been achieved; also important legislative improvements in the area of
democracy, the functioning of state and local administrative bodies, human rights and fundamental
137. It referred on the other hand, to the fact that the imposition of a state of emergency in November
2007 and the conduct of the January 2008 presidential elections had raised concerns. The
independence and impartiality of the judiciary remained a crucial objective, as did strengthening
ombudsperson institutions, and Georgia should address them without delay.
138. There is an increasing awareness in the EU, however, that the ENP in its present form is not
sufficient to satisfy the many needs of countries in eastern Europe (Ukraine and Moldova) and the
South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia). Following a Swedish-Polish initiative launched
in May 2008 with the aim of strengthening the EU’s relationship with these countries, the European
Commission, on 3 December 2008, will be proposing an “Eastern Partnership” plan that should go
beyond the current ENP, while remaining part of it. At the time of writing of the report, no details of
the plan were as yet available. The Eastern Partnership plan is likely to be launched at a European
Council Summit in June 2009.
                                             VIII.    Russia

(a) Russia’s view on the war
139. Russia argues that it was Georgia which started violating the rules set out in the 1992 agreement
that ended the fighting at the time. It claims that Georgia started attacking the civilian population of
South Ossetian towns and villages with artillery and mortar fire and also killed a number of Russian
peacekeeping soldiers. Russia was left with no other choice than to intervene militarily on the territory
of South Ossetia in order to protect its peacekeeping troops and the civilian population, more than half
of which has Russian citizenship.

     European Commission document SEC (2008) 393.


140. In order to prevent further bloodshed, protect Russian citizens and be able to promote their
economic and political development, Russia recognised the independence of the two new republics at
an early stage, a decision it says is irreversible.
141. The Russian Government claims to have fully met its 1999 Istanbul Commitments with regard
to Georgia. With the departure of the last Russian soldier from Georgian territory before 31 December
2006, it transferred the responsibility for the security of that part of the South Caucasus to Georgia. At
the time, it tried to dissuade the United States from training and equipping Georgia’s armed forces, but
the US continued its programme, arguing that the armed units concerned would never be used against
the breakaway regions. At the same time, a number of other countries supplied Georgia with weaponry
against Russia’s advice. This had led to the anomalous situation in which Russia had fully complied
with its CFE obligations while Georgia was openly being rearmed by other countries.
142. This, Russia argues, is proof of the fact that a NATO-centric policy does not offer security
guarantees. In order to rule out all forms of aggression in this region, what are needed are reliable
security guarantees and a common strategy providing “equal security” for all countries in the Euro-
Atlantic zone as covered by the OSCE.
(b) Russia’s mutual assistance treaties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia
143. Following its recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on 26 August,
Russia signed separate mutual assistance treaties with them, which have since been ratified by the two
houses of the Russian Parliament and by the parliaments of the two breakaway regions.
144. According to President Medvedev, these treaties allow the signatories to take joint measures to
remove threats to peace and respond to acts of aggression, in accordance with Article 51 of the United
States Charter on individual or collective self-defence. The treaties further provide for the presence of
Russian armed forces and military bases.
145. In Abkhazia, the Gudauta military base will be renovated to include housing and infrastructure
for Russian military personnel and their families. The rebuilt port of Ochamchira will be permanent
home to a small group of Russian navy ships. Abkhazia’s armed forces will receive major
146. South Ossetia is also to have two Russian military bases, one of them in Dzhava.
147. Russia is planning to keep 3 800 troops in each of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
148. Regarding the size of Russia’s military presence, President Medvedev has stated that “not a
single document, including my joint plan with President Nicolas Sarkozy, stipulates that this
contingent should abide by any rules”. He added that the number of Russian troops was regulated by
bilateral agreements with South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
149. The decision to recognise the independence of both breakaway regions was, he said,
(c) Russia’s strengths and weaknesses
150. Since President Putin came to power in 2000, Russia’s self-confidence has increased
substantially, bolstered by the rapid rise in the price of oil and other commodities which has resulted in
outstanding growth of the country’s economy.
151. But the rouble is still a long way off becoming one of the currencies of international settlement,
as President Medvedev has proudly suggested.
152. Many economic and political analysts note that Russia’s economic success and sudden wealth
are based on shaky ground. In 2008, the Russian stock market lost some 75% of its value, commodity
prices are falling, easy credit from the West has stopped and Russia has failed to diversify its

     Interview with President Medvedev, Le Figaro, 13 November 2008.

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153. Metals, energy and food account for 80% of Russian exports. In the period from 2000 to 2007
their real prices rose by 275%, 210% and 160% respectively, but commodity and energy prices are
now falling back sharply.
154. As Russia’s consumer economy has been built on commodity trade and diversification into
other fields of economic activity has barely started, the downturn in commodity prices will have
widespread effects on Russians’ standard of living and will impact negatively on the government’s
budget. At the same time, Russian banks and companies are being hit by the “credit crunch” and the
crisis in the western banking system.
155. Russia is still in fact an emerging economy accounting for only 3% of the world’s gross
domestic product.19
156. The easy victory of the Russian armed forces, far superior in number and equipment, over
Georgia might lead to the conclusion that, after a long period of neglect, those forces were again up to
speed. But the reality is different, for although Russia has increased its military budget over last
decade to its present level of some US$ 39 billion in 2008, or around one eighteenth of the United
States’ US$696 billion defence budget for 2008, this is insufficient for the thorough-going
modernisation that was announced by Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov on 14 October 2008. This
is the more true, given the fact that most of the available means are being spent on maintaining
Russia’s strategic and nuclear arsenal, modernisation of which is also lagging behind. Prime Minister
Putin has announced the construction of five aircraft carriers (at present Russia has only one), but the
only shipyard capable of building them is in Ukraine and there are doubts over whether the budget will
stretch to such a major project.20
157. In general, Russia’s military equipment is failing, with numerous mishaps and accidents being
reported. To take but one example, there has been a series of serious incidents in the submarine forces
from the sinking of the Kursk in 2000 to the accident with the Nerpa, only a few weeks ago.
158. The general level of training of ordinary troops is still far from satisfactory and despite a
determined effort to improve the situation, much remains to be done. Corruption is also ubiquitous and
stands in the way of more modern and efficient forces.
159. Russia’s economic development plan for the period to 2020, published in early October 2008,
made it clear that trade, investment and broader economic cooperation with the West are by far the
most important prerequisites for higher growth scenarios.
160. The government now seems to have understood that Russia cannot remain a safe haven in a
global financial crisis.
161. In particular, the sobering consequences for the country’s economy have made Russia realise
that its national interests lie in greater cooperation, not in confrontation with the West.
162. The Russian leadership seems to have woken up to the fact that its earlier choice to adopt
capitalism excludes the option of an economic system that can be isolated from the world economy
and is incompatible with Soviet-style imperialistic behaviour.
163. All in all, however, it should be noted that although Russia’s position in the world may be less
brilliant or prominent than its leadership claims, in strategic matters, its policy has to be taken into
164. Russia remains an essential player in world politics today, if only because of its huge strategic
and nuclear arsenal, its status as one of the permanent members of the Security Council, its vast size,
stretching over two continents, and its natural resources.

  Robert Sidelsky, Financial Times, 31 October 2008.
  Jonathan Eyal, Europe and Russia: A Return to the Past; Rod Thornton, A Bear with Teeth? The Russian
Military in 2008, both in RUSI Journal, October 2008, vol. 153, no. 5 and Jane’s Defence Weekly, 22 October
and 19 November 2008.


(d) The EU: engaging with Russia
165. Russia’s choosing to use military force against a neighbouring country to settle a dispute which
it helped to create and to keep alive by frustrating peace negotiations, while presenting itself as a
neutral mediator, has shocked many in the European Union.
166. To be clear, the EU has not expressed support for Georgia’s decision to use military force in an
effort to reaffirm its sovereignty over the territory of South Ossetia.
167. Understandably, many governments are reluctant, in their relations with Russia, to carry on
doing business as usual: but they are also reluctant to make clear that they consider the use of
disproportionate military force unacceptable under the circumstances. A number of countries, for
whom the whole affair has brought back memories of the use of military force by the Soviet Union
against revolutionary or nationalist movements in Warsaw Pact countries, have wanted to make it
crystal clear that any nostalgic revival of the notion of spheres of influence will not be tolerated.
168. The EU and its member states should in fact take a firm stand on that issue, but there are
compelling reasons to engage Russia in cooperative efforts and negotiate a partnership agreement that
should be a coherent and sustainable framework for future relations.
169. At the request of the Extraordinary Council of 1 September 2008, the General Secretariat of the
European Council and the European Commission conducted an in-depth examination of the various
aspects of EU-Russia relations – resulting in a memo published on 5 November.
170. This review found that trade and investment between the EU and Russia are substantial and
growing and that it is in the partners’ mutual interest that the trend should continue. Russia is the EU’s
third most important trading partner, with trade between them increasing by up to 20% every year. The
EU is the major investor in Russia, accounting for 80% of cumulative foreign investment, and Russia
will need European investment even more in the future, given its quest for diversification and
171. EU-Russia interdependence in the energy sector is a core element of the relationship, but the
review points out that the EU and Russia have different interpretations of energy security and
reciprocal market access. While Russia has been a reliable supplier of energy products, disputes with
transit states and insufficient upstream investment in the face of expanding demand raise concerns
about future supply. A good deal of work is still needed to build up a genuine energy partnership.
172. Political dialogue in the Common Space of External Security takes place frequently, and at
many levels. The EU engages with Russia on Iran, the Middle East, Afghanistan, the Balkans and
elsewhere and also in international bodies such as the UN and the OSCE, with the aim of developing
common views and approaches. The EU has a strong interest in continued efforts to improve
cooperation in these areas.
173. Human rights is an area of concern, and the EU has a general feeling that there is a growing gap
with regard to common commitments in the Council of Europe and the OSCE. Human rights
consultations with Russia take place twice a year, and it is considered important to build on what has
been achieved.
174. EU and Russian interests in the Common Space on Justice, Freedom and Security often
coincide: some examples being agreements on visa facilitation and readmission, cooperation between
FRONTEX and Russia’s border guard service and cooperation in the field of drugs control.
175. Contacts between EU and Russian citizens are increasing and it is thought that a further
expansion will contribute to improving mutual understanding and trust.
176. Cooperation in the Common Space on Research, Education and Culture is characterised by a
strong mutual interest.
177. The paper concludes that the EU and Russia should be able to discuss areas of disagreement in
an open and constructive manner, essential to a confident and mature relationship. It states further that,
while the EU should remain firm on its principles and reject all use of force, it is in its interest to
engage with Russia in renewed efforts to resolve conflicts in both partners’ common neighbourhood.

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178. The EU expects the new EU-Russia Agreement to provide for a comprehensive, legally binding
framework to cover all the main areas of the relationship, on the basis of shared interests and the
international commitments which the EU and Russia have entered into – including promoting respect
for human rights and the rule of law. Moreover, in order to underpin their growing economic
interdependence, it feels that a Free Trade Area (FTA) would be of mutual interest.
179. The paper further concludes that the negotiations on a new EU-Russia Agreement should
continue: first, because this would allow the EU to pursue its own interests with Russia, and second,
because it is the best way to engage with Russia on the basis of a unified position. When the EU
speaks with one voice and acts as one, Russia takes notice and the EU is able to influence the course
of events.
180. Finally, the document states clearly that the EU does not accept the status quo in Georgia. The
Geneva process should continue its important work on the basis of the 12 August and 8 September
Agreements addressing security and stability in the region and the return of IDPs and refugees. The
territorial integrity of Georgia should be restored.
181. In its meeting on 10-11 November 2008, the European Foreign Relations Council agreed with
the line of argument set out in the memo.
182. One hurdle remained to be surmounted: fact that, in view of its earlier 1 September decision,
negotiations with Russia would not be resumed until that country met its obligations as stipulated in
the 12 August Sarkozy-Medvedev agreement – including the withdrawal of its troops to the positions
held prior to 7 August 2008.
183. Although a number of EU member states had expressed serious doubts as to whether Russia
had met this last obligation in full, the Council took the decision to resume its negotiations with that
184. However, in a joint declaration, the EU foreign ministers insisted that a decision to resume
partnership negotiations in no way legitimised “the status quo in Georgia, or Russian action contrary
to our values and principles”.
185. That same day, the British Foreign Secretary and the Swedish Foreign Minister issued a
declaration stating that the resumption of negotiations should be interpreted as a return to “business as
usual”, with the added caveat, however, “Nor are we turning the page of the conflict in Georgia”.
Statements in favour of a tough line against Russia were also made by Lithuania and Poland.
186. Disagreement persisted over the question of whether Russia had carried out all its commitments
under the Sarkozy-Medvedev agreement and Russia made clear that it would not change its mind over
the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
187. The EU Presidency stated that the occupation, legitimate or illegitimate, of some zones adjacent
to the breakaway regions should be discussed in Geneva.
188. After the 14 November EU-Russia Summit, no joint communiqué was published. Both parties
agreed that they had a mutual interest in working together and there was some improvement in
189. It was decided that the negotiations on an enhanced partnership agreement would resume at a
political level on 2 December 2008.
190. No firm decisions were taken with regard to the Russian proposal to launch negotiations on a
new European Security Treaty: both parties expressed an interest in such negotiations without being
more specific.
(e) US – Russia relations: an agenda for strategic cooperation
191. Following the NATO Bucharest Summit, President Bush and President Putin met in Sochi on
5 and 6 April 2008. After their meetings, they issued a declaration setting out a framework for


strategic cooperation between the United States and Russia.21 This outlined key elements of ongoing
and new strategic initiatives between the two countries, including steps to promote security in the face
of new and emergent threats, prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, combat global
terrorism and advance economic cooperation.
192. As regards promoting security, the declaration specifically mentions a number of issues.
193. Both parties expressed interest in creating a system for responding to potential missile threats in
which Russia, the United States and Europe would participate as equal partners. Russia made it clear
that it did not agree with the installation of US missile defence elements in Poland and the Czech
Republic but appreciated measures proposed by the United States which, if agreed and implemented,
would be important and useful in assuaging Russian concerns.
194. The two countries agreed to develop a legally binding arrangement following expiration of the
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in December 2009. They agreed in relation to the
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty to engage in a high-level dialogue to analyse
intermediate- and shorter-range missile threats and options for dealing with them. They would
cooperate to prevent conventional arms sales that threatened international security and to deny
conventional arms to terrorists.
195. They also agreed to finalise agreement on defence technology cooperation, including measures
to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Finally, they confirmed their commitment to a broad
range of activities to prevent nuclear proliferation. These included: achieving a negotiated solution to
guarantee that Iran’s nuclear programme is directed exclusively towards peaceful purposes;
cooperating in achieving the ultimate goal of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula; and seeking to
prevent and deter trafficking in weapons of mass destruction, their delivery means and related
196. Mr Putin is no longer in office and President Bush’s elected successor will soon take over, but
the issues discussed in Sochi have not lost their urgency.
197. Other issues, not mentioned in the Sochi declaration, are the consequences of the United States’
decision to denounce the ABM Treaty and Russia’s decision to suspend observance of its CFE Treaty
obligations, both treaties designed to enhance security in the world.
198. The US intention to install elements of a global missile defence system in both Poland and the
Czech Republic may now become the subject of one of the first confrontations between Russia and the
upcoming Obama administration.
199. President Medvedev said in his address of 5 November 2008, just after the election of Barack
Obama as the next US President, that in order to counter attempts by the current US Administration to
install new elements of a global missile defence system in Europe, a number of measures would be
taken, including the installation of the Iskander missile system (with a possible maximum range of
400-500 km) in the Kaliningrad region and the establishment of electronic countermeasures in that
200. Later, the Russian authorities suggested they would renounce these measures if the new US
Administration decided not to deploy such ABM system elements.
201. It should be noted that during his election campaign, President-elect Obama took the position
that he supported deploying a missile defence system on condition that the technology was proven to
work and the system was cost effective.
202. Obviously, there is an inherent danger that this issue will be seen as the first foreign policy test
for the new US President early next year and that he will feel obliged to take a tough line in order to
demonstrate his qualities as commander-in-chief.


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203. There have been some signals that both the US and Russia are seeking to open a substantial and
constructive dialogue on a number of strategic issues, including an ABM system and extension of the
START Treaty.
204. New American proposals on missile defence, designed to prove that the system at issue is no
threat to Russia’s nuclear deterrent, and on inviting Russia to join the US and NATO in a continent-
wide missile defence system were presented to Russia in early November 2008. Russia has not yet
reacted officially, however, and is probably playing for time in the knowledge that a new US
administration will soon be in charge.
205. At the end of October 2008, Admiral Mike Mullen, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, met his Russian counterpart, General Nikolai Makarov, in Finland in an attempt to seek common
ground and put bilateral relations back on track.
206. As well as the war in Georgia, they discussed NATO’s relations with Russia, the fight against
terrorism, the proliferation of non-conventional weapons and the fight against drug trafficking.22
207. All in all, there may be some reason to be optimistic about improving relations between Russia
and the United States in the not too distant future, but hopes of achieving tangible results on strategic
issues should not be set too high.
(f) A new European security treaty?
208. Already in early June 2008, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev had begun putting forward
suggestions for creating a new European security architecture, noting that the OSCE and NATO had
displayed failings when it came to security problems in Europe.
209. In Moscow, irritation had been growing over NATO’s eastward expansion and other NATO
policies. Russia had repeatedly insisted that, as a NATO partner, its opinion should also be taken into
account. It noted that its views on the Treaty on Conventional Arms in Europe, on Anti-Ballistic
Missile Defence and on NATO expansion had been ignored.
210. President Medvedev recently made clear proposals in a speech at the World Policy Conference
held in Evian on 8 October 2008.
211. He maintained that the present security mechanisms had not succeeded in preventing aggression
in the Caucasus, and that the “NATO-centric” approach in particular had shown its weakness.
212. He therefore put forward the idea of a new European security treaty, which should apply in
equal measure to all states without isolating any one of them. It should consolidate the Euro-Atlantic
region as a whole on the basis of uniform rules of the game.
213. He also presented what, in to his opinion, should be the essential characteristics of the new
         –   “First. The treaty should clearly affirm the basic principles for security and
             intergovernmental relations in the Euro-Atlantic area. These principles include the
             commitment to fulfil in good faith obligations under international law; respect for
             sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of states, and respect for all of
             the other principles set out in the truly fundamental document that is the United Nations
         –   Second. The inadmissibility of the use of force or the threat of its use in international
             relations should be clearly affirmed. It is fundamental for the treaty to guarantee uniform
             interpretation and implementation of those principles. The treaty could also cement a unified
             approach to the prevention and peaceful settlement of conflicts in the Euro-Atlantic space.
             The emphasis should be on negotiated settlements that take into account the different sides’
             positions and strictly respect peacekeeping mechanisms. It would perhaps be useful to set
             out the dispute resolution procedures themselves.

     International Herald Tribune, 22 October 2008.


        –    Third. It should guarantee equal security, and I mean equal security and not any other kind
             of security. In this respect we should base ourselves on three ‘no’s. Namely, no ensuring
             one’s own security at the expense of others. No allowing acts (by military alliances or
             coalitions) that undermine the unity of the common security space. And finally, no
             development [expansion] of military alliances that would threaten the security of other
             parties to the treaty.
        –    In a 24 November 2008 address in St. Petersburg, Prime Minister Putin referred to these
             three ‘no’s’ as the principles on which the new treaty should be based.
        –    We need to concentrate on military and political issues because it is hard security that plays
             a determining role today. And it is here that we have seen a dangerous deficit of controlling
             mechanisms recently.
        –    Fourth. It is important to confirm in the treaty that no state or international organisation can
             have exclusive rights to maintaining peace and stability in Europe. This applies fully to
             Russia as well.
        –    Fifth. It would be good to establish basic arms control parameters and reasonable limits on
             military construction. Also needed are new cooperation procedures and mechanisms in areas
             such as WMD proliferation, terrorism and drug trafficking.”23
214. President Medvedev emphasised that Russia did not seek to abolish or even weaken any of the
existing mechanisms.
215. Finally he insisted that the existing non-proliferation regime, despite obvious problems, had not
yet exhausted its potential. He attached exceptional importance to concluding a new, legally binding
Russia-America agreement on nuclear disarmament to replace the START Treaty that expires in 2009.
216. Responding to President Medvedev’s proposal, President Sarkozy said that he was ready to
discuss it, but that cooperation between Europe and Russia should be based on certain achievements
which should be developed further, such as NATO and its NATO Russia Council and the EU with its
217. He proposed discussing the Russian proposals, and those of the EU, on pan-European defence
concepts within the framework of the OSCE which brings together all actors on an equal footing, and
to convene a special OSCE summit for this purpose before the end of 2009.
218. President Sarkozy further said that a renewed security framework should be based not only on
interests, but also on values. A balance of forces was not enough for lasting security. There was also a
need for democracy and human rights. New security arrangements should permit the peaceful
resolution of conflicts. Finally, he emphasised that Europe’s security also depended on all parties
definitely renouncing any ambition to “spheres of influence” and respecting each country’s territorial
integrity and independence. The area defined as the “common neighbourhood” should be an area of
cooperation, not of rivalries.
                                  IX. NATO after the war in a partner country

(a) NATO’s relations with Georgia
219. The North Atlantic Council met on 19 August 2008 at the level of foreign ministers to discuss
the implications for Euro-Atlantic stability and security of the situation in Georgia.
220. It agreed to support Georgia, upon its request, in a number of areas and to establish a NATO-
Georgia Commission, while continuing to cooperate with Georgia in the framework of the Partnership
for Peace and Georgia’s Individual Partnership Action Plan with NATO.
221. The nature of assistance in the context of the “intensified dialogue” will depend on Georgian


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222. A first meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission was held at ministerial level on 10 October
2008 in Budapest. It discussed NATO support for rebuilding Georgia’s infrastructure and the Alliance
also offered advisory services for military reform; it was stipulated however that the Alliance would
not provide any material aid to the Georgian military.
223. NATO military assistance to Georgia is limited for the time being to connecting up Georgia’s
air traffic information sharing system with the NATO ASDE (Air Situation Date Exchange) network.
224. It should be noted that according to President Saakashvili, Georgia needs a clear signal from
NATO that it is on the road to membership. He suggests that the war in August might not have
happened if NATO had adopted a less ambiguous position over this issue at its Bucharest Summit and
urges NATO not to show any “sign of weakness” or push Georgia away.
225. NATO is not involved in any bilateral aid that may be provided by individual member states at
their own initiative.
226. In October 2008, the Defence Ministers of the United States and Georgia agreed to hold
bilateral defence consultations in order to discuss their military cooperation and Georgia’s specific
needs for rebuilding its army.
(b) NATO’s relations with Russia
227. There can be no denying that for Russia the continued existence of NATO after the implosion of
the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the once-dreaded Warsaw Pact has been a serious bone of
contention. And although the Alliance always tried to play down the military implications of NATO’s
eastward enlargement by emphasising the increasingly political nature of the organisation, Russia had
a different perception. Indeed, Russia saw the further enlargement of NATO towards its borders as a
military encirclement and a real threat. NATO’s efforts to engage with Russia by establishing a
NATO-Russia Council and other bodies for discussion and exchange of information did not change
the basic perception of the leadership in Moscow. Moreover, Russia was deeply concerned that
NATO’s expansion policy, as it was perceived, was to the detriment of its own sphere of influence and
it claimed the right to co-determine the foreign policy of the former and now independent Soviet
republics and the direction of their internal development.
228. The Alliance, in disagreement with Russia over its claims to spheres of influence and ignoring
Russia’s complaints about encirclement by NATO its perception of this as a threat, continued its
enlargement policy and at its 2008 Bucharest Summit once again confirmed the principles of that
policy, including the right of independent states to apply for NATO membership if they so wished,
with special reference to Georgia and Ukraine whose membership was said to be imminent.
229. Russia made no bones about its deep irritation over the Bucharest Summit decision, even if it
fell short at that stage of offering a Membership Action Plan to Georgia and Ukraine. The war in
which Russia and Georgia became involved shortly afterwards could only lead to a further cooling of
relations between Russia and NATO.
230. At its 19 August meeting the North Atlantic Council deplored the use of force in the conflict
between Georgia and Russia and reminded all parties of the key principle of peaceful conflict
resolution. Russia’s military action was incompatible with that principle, as well as disproportionate
and inconsistent with its peacekeeping role. With regard to the implications for NATO-Russia
relations, the ministers determined that they could not continue with business as usual.
231. The day after its recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Russian
Government had already given details of a partial suspension of cooperation with NATO that it had
232. Suspended activities and agreements would include: joint exercises; ports of call by NATO
ships to Russian ports; Russia’s Status of Forces Agreement with NATO; Russian participation in the
NATO-Russia Council; information exchanges regarding nuclear safety; civil emergency planning and
counter-terrorism research such as protection against explosives; a draft agreement to expand NATO’s
use of Russia’s Antonov AN-124 transport aircraft for global development, while cooperation on
theatre missile defence was reduced.


233. The Russian Government has not, however, suspended the use of AN-124 aircraft for transport
to Afghanistan, which it considers to be a shared problem. The transit of NATO non-military
shipments via Russia to Afghanistan will still go ahead.
234. Russia plans to maintain cooperation on anti-drug trafficking efforts, including the training of
Afghan counter-narcotics police at a facility near Moscow.
235. Finally, limited cooperation on theatre missile defence will continue.
236. At their 10-19 September informal meeting in London, the NATO defence ministers toned
down the Alliance’s earlier fierce reactions towards Russia. They agreed to safeguard certain aspects
of NATO-Russian cooperation.
237. Political dialogue in the context of the NATO-Russia Council, joint peacekeeping operations,
military cooperation in the broadest sense, and reform and modernisation programmes for the Russian
army would be suspended, at least until all Russian forces were withdrawn from Georgia.
238. It was not specified, however, what the territory of Georgia was meant to include in this context,
and some people have suggested that a Russian withdrawal to the checkpoints held before 7 August
could be considered as a return to the “status quo ante”, irrespective of the size of the Russian military
239. Russia is planning to keep a strengthened military presence of some 7 600 troops in Abkhazia
and South Ossetia. NATO rejects this continued military presence which it says is not in line with the
six-point agreement providing for all troops to pull back to the positions held prior to the outbreak of
hostilities on 6 August. This could mean that more than half of the contingent now foreseen by Russia
would have to pull back to Russian territory. Russia, however, stands firm on its plans to strengthen its
military presence.
240. On 10 October, EU High Representative Javier Solana confirmed that, as agreed earlier,
Russian troops had completed their withdrawal from the areas adjacent to Abkhazia and South
Ossetia. This was denied by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who argued that Russia had
not fully complied with its obligations under the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan, since its troops remained in
the Akhalgori and Kodori Gorge areas of South Ossetia and Abkhazia respectively, which had been
under the full control of the Georgian Government before the conflict.
241. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, supported by Russia’s permanent representative to the
EU, Vladimir Chizov, rejected this reasoning, arguing that the two regions were situated within the
borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia respectively and that the provisions of the six-point agreement
did not apply to them. The matter has still not been elucidated. The EU Presidency has relegated this
issue to the Geneva talks.
242. Although the NATO-Russia Council has not met since the start of the conflict on 7 August,
relations between Russia and the allied countries continue at ambassadorial level within the Euro-
Atlantic Partnership Council, where the NATO member states and 23 partner states, including Russia,
discuss common policy and security issues.
243. NATO hopes to pursue cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism, operations in Afghanistan,
the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe and nuclear weapons and their non-proliferation.
244. Speaking at the 54th session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Secretary-General Jaap de
Hoop Scheffer unfolded his latest views on the state of the Alliance’s relations with Russia,
acknowledging that the instability of the current environment forced NATO to reassess its agenda.
245. After the war in Georgia, he said, NATO-Russia relations were to be reviewed, while
emphasising that “no business as usual” did not mean “no business at all”. NATO-Russia cooperation
remained essential, not only for negotiating the Alliance’s eastward expansion which he apparently
wished to continue, but also for facing up to shared challenges, such as proliferation and terrorism. In
response to suggestions by a number of allies, he recognised that it was important to take a fresh look
at the Alliance’s military posture. Again he denied that a choice had to be made between territorial
defence and allied operational capacity. He advocated a speeding up of NATO’s military

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transformation which would provide it with forces capable of performing both traditional and
expeditionary missions. NATO was to prepare a “Declaration on Alliance Security” for its April 2009
summit in Strasbourg-Kehl, which, in turn, would serve as a basis for the new strategic concept.
(c) NATO enlargement in the South Caucasus
246. Meeting in London, on 19 August 2008, the NATO foreign ministers reaffirmed their
commitment to the decisions taken at the Bucharest Summit, where both Ukraine and Georgia had
received assurance that they would be able to join at an unspecified date in the future.
247. However, a consensus is unlikely to be reached on this issue at the 2 and 3 December
ministerial meeting, given the fact that important member states such as France and Germany have
indicated that they are in no hurry to change the attitude which prevented early membership for
Georgia at the Bucharest Summit.
248. On a visit to Tbilisi in mid-September, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
declared, “the process of NATO enlargement will continue, with due caution, but also with a clear
purpose to help create a stable, undivided Europe”. He added that for Georgia, “the road to NATO is
still wide open” but acknowledged that views diverged on how fast Georgia should be admitted.
249. A number of NATO member states, including France and Germany, argue that NATO
membership for Georgia in the near future would not contribute to stability in that region and in
relations with Russia. They also mention the unpredictability of the Georgian Government’s actions,
which does not make it a “net contributor to security”.
250. Also candidates for NATO membership must resolve and territorial disputes they are involved
in before their applications can be accepted. Membership of NATO for Georgia is therefore difficult to
imagine in the short or medium term.
251. In early September the Russian Ambassador to NATO, Dmitri Rogozin, declared that Russia
planned to break off all relations with NATO if, at the NATO ministerial meeting in December,
Georgia was invited to participate in the Membership Action Plan.
252. For the other two South Caucasian republics, both participants in NATO’s Partnership for Peace
programme, NATO membership is not an issue of any urgency.
253. Armenia sees cooperation with NATO as part of its security system but has no ambition to
become a member of it, among other things because it does not want new dividing lines drawn in the
South Caucasus. It prefers to maintain a balance between its relations with the West, on the one hand,
and those with Russia, on the other.
254. Azerbaijan takes a similar view: it has no clear membership ambitions and is also satisfied with
the present Partnership for Peace arrangement. Since independence it has been consistent in its foreign
policy, seeking a balance in its relations with the EU, Russia and the United States, but also Iran,
which is home to some 30 million Azeris. The war in Georgia has only reinforced that policy.
(d) The Article 5 security guarantee of the North Atlantic Treaty
255. Russia has complained repeatedly that it disagrees with NATO’s ongoing enlargement which
brought this largely military organisation (and former nemesis) literally to its doorstep. The former
President said so most clearly in his address to the Munich Security Conference in February 2007,
which left many in a state of shock.
256. The war in Georgia sent new shock waves through a number of central and eastern European
NATO member states. Within NATO, the war sparked a debate on the value of Article 5 of the North
Atlantic Treaty. Some said that if Georgia had been a member of NATO, the Atlantic Alliance would
automatically have been drawn into a war with Russia.
257. Others, in particular NATO’s new central and eastern European member states, wondered
whether they could really count on the Alliance’s automatic military assistance in the event of an
attempt on their sovereign existence.


258. Poland, which had repeatedly received threats from Russia, only agreed to the deployment of
antiballistic missile elements on its territory after it was granted additional security guarantees by the
United States. A number of central European countries asked NATO to refocus its attention towards
the defence of its territory in Europe.
259. It seems useful therefore to consider carefully the text of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty,
which reads as follows:
      “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North
      America shall be considered an attack against them all; and consequently they agree that, if such
      an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-
      defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or
      Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such
      action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the
      security of the North Atlantic area.
      Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported
      to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken
      the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.”
260. It has been pointed out that the first part of the text was meant to reassure allies that the United
States would not remain aloof if war were to break out in Europe, as had happened in the past. But the
second part was inserted at the United States’ insistence in order to make it clear that the decision
whether to respond remained the sovereign right of each member state.
261. Finally, Article 5 stipulates that the response of Alliance members to an armed attack may be
either “individually or in concert with other Parties” and would include “such action as it deems
necessary, including the use of armed force”.
262. As a consequence, the text implies that in the event of an attack on one member state, all
member states are obliged to take some action, but this action may not be in unison, does not have to
be the same for all members, and would not necessarily result in the use of force.24
263. While the text of article 5 containing NATO’s security guarantee is merely a pledge to consult
and act in an unspecified manner, subsequent practice transformed it into a “hard” security guarantee
because of the stationing of US troops and equipment on European soil near the borders with the
Warsaw Pact. NATO’s contingency plans always involved US forces.
264. After the cold war, the debate and the realities on the ground took a different turn. Most foreign
troops withdrew from German territory, the line of confrontation between NATO and the dissolved
Warsaw Pact no longer existed and NATO started to enlarge into central Europe while increasingly
emphasising its political, rather than its military character and the importance of Article 5, in order to
avoid an acrimonious debate with Russia. At present, western European nations do not intend to
deploy any of their ever dwindling troop strengths in central or eastern European NATO member
265. After the war in Georgia, a number of new NATO member states have begun insisting that the
Article 5 security guarantee must be clarified.
266. Several member states, in particular the Baltic states, but also Poland and the Czech Republic,
have suggested that NATO should start discussing ways and means of improving the collective
defence of its territory, which could affect resources available for out-of-area operations, for example
in Afghanistan. According to NATO Secretary-General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer, however, the ongoing
transformation, aimed at increasing mobility, will provide sufficient flexibility for military means to
be deployed wherever they may be required.25

   Jonathan Eyal: Europe and Russia, A return to the past, RUSI, October 2008, vol. 153 no. 5 pages 40-47;
Olivier Kempf: L’OTAN et la crise géorgienne, Défense nationale et sécurité collective, November 2008,
pages 49-57.
   Informal meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in London, 18-19 September 2008.

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267. Mr De Hoop Scheffer stresses that the basic principles of NATO’s policy of constructive
engagement remain valid and that possible adjustments in its approach to Russia do not require a new
policy. It would seem that this response is not enough to put an end to the debate.
268. Russia is testing the limits of its sphere of influence. The West does not wish to entertain the
idea that such a sphere can exist beyond national borders and the new NATO members want solid and
reliable security guarantees. Other non-NATO countries, such as Russia, are insisting on equal
security guarantees for all and it may therefore be useful to take that discussion beyond NATO into a
wider framework involving all those states interested in security guarantees which, it should be noted,
are only sustainable if they do not infringe the security of others.
269. A thorough discussion of these issues can no longer be avoided. If NATO neglects to take
account of this important issue, its importance in the eyes of new members and candidates for
membership would be diminished. The balance might then tip towards the EU which would
consequently have to take its own foreign and security policy increasingly seriously by putting flesh
on the bones of its ambitions in this area.
                                       X. Europe’s energy strategy

270. During the war in Georgia, Russia carefully avoided causing damage to the Baku-Tbilissi-
Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, but it was certainly not unaware that the conflict also cast doubts over the
South Caucasus as a reliable alternative energy route.
271. Georgia is a transit country for Caspian energy towards the West, and the war in August
understandably caused concern in Europe and further afield about the security and reliability of the
energy routes in the southern Caucasus.
272. In its Second Strategic Energy Review, presented on 13 November 2008, the European
Commission proposed that a southern gas corridor for the supply of gas from Caspian and Middle
Eastern sources should be accepted as one of six priority infrastructure actions of the EU.
273. The European Council has given high priority to the further development of relations with the
countries of the Caspian region, and the Commission will focus all its existing instruments on building
robust cooperation, including a strengthening of the Baku process, established in November 2004 to
promote a genuine energy partnership.
274. An alternative for the northern gas supply route is the Nabucco pipeline, running from Turkey’s
eastern border through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to Austria. In an ideal situation, the Nabucco
pipeline could start with an initial capacity of 8 billion cubic metres (bcm)/year in 2013, eventually to
be increased to 31 bcm/year. The first 8 bcm/year should come from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas
field, while 10 bcm/year should be added later by Turkmenistan, either through Iran or via a planned
trans-Caspian gas pipeline. Eventually, more gas could come from Kazakhstan and even from Egypt
and Iran.
275. Russia, which essentially for economic reasons clearly wishes as far as possible to control the
flow of energy to the West, has developed the South Stream gas pipeline project, which should start in
Beregovaya on the Russian Black Sea Coast and run via Varna in Bulgaria to Austria (northern
branch) and Italy (southern branch). To the surprise of many, the very same countries that are
promoting the Nabucco pipeline have all signed agreements with Russia for cooperation on the
construction and operation of the South Stream pipeline.
276. In the last instance everything will depend on the availability of gas and the profitability of the
project, and it will be for the energy companies to decide since they will have to fund it.
277. The realisation of the Nabucco pipeline is contingent upon many unknown factors, such as the
provision of gas by a large number of different countries, the availability and technical feasibility of
the so-called Trans-Caspian Pipeline or of an alternative route through Iran, and the willingness of
private energy companies to provide the funding.
278. Another unresolved question regarding the abovementioned project is the legal status of the
Caspian Sea.


279. Although Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have concluded agreements on the division of the
northern Caspian seabed, both Iran and to a lesser degree, Turkmenistan, are still holding up the
conclusion of an agreement on the legal status of the Caspian and its division into national sectors,
without which a trans-Caspian pipeline is unlikely to be built.
280. Experts and authorities in the Caspian region also note that Europe’s slowness to commit
resources to alternative projects may have discouraged central Asian states from abandoning Russia as
the main transit route to Europe.
281. At present Russia is supplying around 25% of Europe’s gas imports, but six central European
EU member states are importing 80% of their gas requirements from Russia. It should be noted that
Russia’s lack of investment in the exploitation of its energy resources may cause problems with
meeting customer demands in the future.
282. For the time being, however, Russia will unavoidably remain a provider of energy to Europe
and will most likely to continue to control the energy supply routes running from central Asia to the
283. If Europe wishes to wield more clout in its energy dealings with Russia and the central Asian
providers, it will have to have a much more integrated energy policy with a single market in gas which
could make for unity and greater economic efficiency. Currently, Russia is still able to divide and rule
by engaging individual member states. The same member states signing up both for the Nabucco
pipeline, a European priority, and for its Russian competitor, the South Stream pipeline, is a total
284. There is also an urgent need for a legal framework for the commercial relations between the EU
and Russia in order to provide clear procedures for settling disputes and give investors more

   Fredrik Erixon, Europe’s energy dependency and Russia’s commercial assertiveness, European Centre for
International Political Economy (ECIPE) Policy Briefs, no 07/2008.


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