The Georgian crisis and EU-Russian relations

In last night’s BBC World Today programme, the Italian and Polish Foreign Ministers, Franco Frattini and Radek Sikorski, and I were interviewed on the recent crisis in Georgia and how it affects EU-Russian relations and EU foreign policy. You can listen to the full interview here:


Gerald Knaus on the Georgian crisis. © 2008 BBC World Today. All rights reserved.

I also wrote a commentary (in German) in the Austrian Falter magazine, it’s called “Russen und Rosen” (“Russians and Roses”)

Franco FrattiniRadek Sikorski
Franco Frattini – Radek Sikorski

One Reply to “The Georgian crisis and EU-Russian relations”

  1. All sides involved in this conflict certainly have to take responsibility for their doings. The urgent goal at this very moment is to stop violence, attacking and murdering civilians, looting villages. If Russia wanted to enforce peace than why did it leave the borders of the conflict zone? Why did it go further beyond Tskhinvali region and destroyed Gori and other cities and villages? Why did they open another front in Zemo Svaneti and encouraged Abkhazians to engage in this war? Is this how Russia understands “peace enforcement”? Let’s be honest, it never was intended to restore peace. Would Russians stay in the conflict region they would be no international support for Georgia. Even now when Russian forces are destroying ships and infrastructure in Poti and are still present in Zugdidi and Gori after all agreements reached via international involvement it is hard to EU to give respective qualification to Russian actions in the sovereign country. Maybe Georgia has miscalculated when engaging in open confrontation, but Russia has too. Because, even if some people pretend not to see it, Russia has invaded Georgia, showed its real interests and the ways how it intends to reach its goals in the region.
    The real picture of territorial conflicts in Georgia became pretty clear, though it was obvious for Georgia long time ago. Russia is a side in these conflicts, it has never contributed to peace and stability in Georgia, contrary, it has supported confrontations between Georgians on the one hand and Abkhazs and Ossetians, on the other hand. Therefore it has no right to be present in Georgia under any mandate, especially as a peacekeeper. And this is a real threat Georgia is facing right now. Because Russia – even after all what happened during last days – argues that it is the only guarantor of stability in the region. Making the conflicts in Georgia internationalized would bring to its resolution in long term perspective. But there is no perspective of stability and development for Georgians and residents of breakaway regions if democratic world doesn’t engage actively and effectively in ongoing developments in Georgia and allows Russia to keep its “peacekeeping” actions in Georgia. And there will be no peace and stability in the world if an aggressor won’t be stopped.

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