TBILISI, DFWatch–A proposal in the Georgian parliament to introduce sanctions against Russia has failed to achieve enough votes.
Only 36 MPs backed the proposal on Thursday, which was put forth by deputies from the National Movement, the party of former President Mikheil Saakashvili.
The deputies failed to convince their colleagues in the government coalition of the need for the resolution, which was supposed to be a reaction to a treaty signed between Russia and the de facto authorities in Abkhazia.
33 voted against. The Free Democrats, who recently left the coalition declaring that Georgia’s pro-Western course was in danger, didn’t vote for the resolution.
But the failure to gather enough votes doesn’t mean that parliamentarians are opposed to the main idea behind the proposal. The foreign affairs committee in parliament now plans to prepare an alternative resolution. However, Zviad Kvachantiradze, the committee’s first deputy leader, could not tell DF Watch whether the the draft now being prepared will include sanctions against Russia.
Kvachantiradze says, during the discussion, UNM members weren’t able to name a specific list of sanctions they wanted to impose, and they couldn’t say whether they saw positive or negative results of these sanctions.
Also part of the proposal was to end regular meetings between Russian and Georgian diplomats, to discuss economy, transport and humanitarian issues.
Kvachantiradze told DF Watch that Georgian Dream could not accept ending the Abashidze-Karasin talks. Otherwise they shared the main thrust of the UNM’s proposal and were not negative to having such a resolution, he told us.
But the resolution must be the result of a common effort by all political parties and not something prepared by a single party, he added.
UNM say they will not support the resolution if it doesn’t contain sanctions.
Gigi Tsereteli, an MP from the UNM, told DF Watch that the only alternative to sanctions is military intervention by NATO.
“There are only two ways: Either military intervention, if NATO enacts military mechanisms, or economic sanctions must be established, the way which Europe chose and if we want to be part of Europe, we must show solidarity,” he said.
Tsereteli says there are no benefit from the Abashidze-Karasin talks, and he cannot understand why the coalition cannot let go of them.
The National Movement proposed the resolution before Russia signed a treaty with Abkhazia on November 24. Both they and the government consider the signing an attempt to annex the region.