Will the West Demand from Russians to Withdraw?
01 December, 2011

Adapted version of the 1999 Istanbul agreement

As we have written in the 27 September 2011 article of Kviris Palitra newspaper entitled ‘The West was Supplying Kremlin with Secrets of the Georgian Army’, despite the December 2007 moratorium, which Russia unilaterally declared over the agreement on conventional armament in Europe and Russian resistance to allow foreign military inspectors (verifiers) enter the country, the West did not stop supplying Moscow with the official information about the results of regular inspections conducted at

military locations of countries (including Georgia) participating in the agreement.

Such inspections are conducted twice a year so that Russian intelligence may sit back and just wait for the arrival of official insider updates about specific locations, arrangements and heavy armament of Georgian troops (except air defense systems and navy as the agreement on conventional armed forces in Europe does not envisage their inspection), including new arms purchased after the August war.

Hence, the Georgian Authorities, who see Russian agents behind every tree, seem to be voluntarily disclosing military secrets to its enemy along the results of every international inspection of the Georgian armed forces that are registered in the joint information clearinghouse. Oddly enough, the West has not even tried to prevent Russia from officially accessing it and retrieving the secrets during last four years. Only in the last week has a representative of the US Department of State announced that America was terminating the supply of the information about its conventional armed forces to Russia in the framework of the agreement and called on European partners to do the same.

As the saying has it, ‘better late than never’. However, there is little consolation in it for us because Moscow can still obtain the official data about the Georgian army twice a year via Armenia or Belarus which too are participants of the agreement. It would be better for Georgia if the West becomes more active and strongly insists on dismantling of Russian military bases from the occupied Apkhazeti and Tskhinvali region, as stipulated in the adapted version of the 1999 Istanbul agreement on conventional armed forces in Europe.

Sadly, even now NATO member States are not ratifying this adapted version of the agreement. Unlike them, Russia did it. So now it has a remarkable excuse in stock. Namely, the Kremlin would counter any possible criticism of the West with a demand to the NATO to first ratify the adapted version of the Istanbul 1999 agreement.