TBILISI, DFWatch – Russia considers Georgia’s decision to terminate its obligations under the Open Skies treaty with respect to Russia a flagrant violation of the treaty.
“The Treaty does not provide any discriminatory restrictions on the rights of any state party. The actions of the Georgian side lead to a violation of the rights of the Russian Federation under the treaty and set a dangerous precedent, which, coupled with the difficult situation in recent years in the Advisory Committee on Open Skies (OSCC), may lead to the collapse of the treaty,” Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Monday.
The treaty provides countries with mutual openness in each other’s military activities. It was adopted by 27 OSCE member states in 1992 in Helsinki. The purpose of the agreement is to promote openness and transparency in military activities, monitoring compliance with existing treaties in the field of arms control and strengthening security through confidence building measures.
Georgia said it withdrew vis a vis Russia because Russia had stopped fulfilling its obligations.
“This move by the Georgian side responds to Russia’s cessation of implementation of certain Treaty obligations, which began in 2010 and subsequent attempts of Russia to exploit Open Skies treaty for the purpose of legitimizing the so-called independence of Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia,” the Georgian foreign ministry wroote a few weeks ago.
The country then informed other treaty member states about its decision.
“The actions of the Georgian side are a typical example of unfair politicization of issues of international cooperation. Tbilisi understands that by recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Russian Federation applies to them the position of the Open Skies treaty, which prohibits inspection missions in close proximity (10 km) from the territory of states not participating in the treaty,” Lukashevich said.
He says Russia will analyze the situation and then inform the other treaty member states.
Georgia sees the Russian statement as a provocation. Nino Kalandadze, deputy foreign minister today told journalists that the Russian statement is absurd and a classic expression of Russian diplomacy’s habit to blaming its own mistakes on others and try to make excuses.
“It is an attempt to get out of a situation they’ve created themselves,” she added.
“Georgia expressed military responsibility towards international treaty after Russian aggression and never created problem in this regards for Russia, but was just asking the same right in response. There is a simple principle of bilateralism, so there is nothing unexpected here. Unfortunately, Russia choses non-constructive ways here just like in many other issues, and so they should blame themselves for the results, when they lost this opportunity,” said Giga Bokeria, secretary of Georgia’s security council.
Russia says Georgia’s withdrawal with not mean anything in practical terms.
“Contrary to the allegations of the Georgian foreign ministry, it does not prevent the access of inspectors of the state parties to the treaty, including Georgia to Russian territory,” the Russian foreign ministry’s statement says.