George C. Dimitriou

Technology and Strategy Consulting
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Georgia

INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP REPORT

Georgia and Russia: Clashing over Abkhazia

With the dispute between Georgia and Russia in a new, dangerously confrontational phase, the risk of war in the South Caucasus is growing. Concerned by NATO’s plans for further extension to former Soviet republics and Kosovo’s unilateral but Western-orchestrated independence, Russia has stepped up manipulation of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia conflicts. Georgia remains determined to restore its territorial integrity, and hawks in Tbilisi are seriously considering a military option. Both sides need to recognize the risks in current policies cool their rhetoric and cease military preparations. Russia should cease undermining its peacekeeper and mediator roles and be open to a change of negotiating formats. Georgia should adopt a new approach to the Abkhaz, encouraging their links to the outside world to lessen dependence on Russia and emphasizing incremental con­­fidence building to establish the mutual trust needed for successful negotiations. The U.S. and European Union (EU) should be firm and united in cautioning both Moscow and Tbilisi against military adventures.

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