22.10. 2009 Tunne Kelam: There is a third party in Russian-Georgian conflict

Speaking on October 22th at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg where parliamentarians assessed the international commission's report on the 2008 Russian-Georgian conflict, the European Peoples Party member Tunne Kelam said that the conflict has a third party, too. This is the international community, including the European Union.

In Kelam's words, one has for a too long time and too easily become used to the existence of the so-called frozen conflicts. Accommodating to the existence of these conflicts equals appeasement.

"The central conclusion to be drawn from the conflict is that Georgia did not invade the territory of Russian Federation whereas Russian invaded with massive military force the Georgian territory and was about to occupy its capital city", stated Kelam.

According to Kelam, this was an unprecedented breach of basic norms of international conduct that dramatically undermined Russia's credibility as a reliable partner.

International reaction to this conflict has been ambiguous, said Kelam. Terming this invasion as an "excessive use of force" can be assessed only as a continuing appeasement. While Russian leaders have apparently succeeded to avoid any international consequences of their military invasion, they see themselves as winners.

"Alarmingly, this has in fact increased the likelihood of new Russian military aggressions in the areas like Crimea or even in the Baltic Sea region", Kelam warned.

In Kelam's opinion, a EU's strong presence and clear commitment in guaranteeing Georgia's freedom to choose its future path and retain its territorial integrity will be of utmost importance.