BSEC Summit – B Is for Blame Games
30 May, 2017
BSEC Summit – B Is for Blame Games
Now, first things first: Despite the headlines that some of the Georgian media gleefully rolled forth last week, it wasn’t Vice PM Kumsishvili’s idea to get up and stand beside the Russian PM Medvedev in a group, or as they prefer us to call it, a family photo. If anything, he was late to attend and rather stone-faced. Nor so did an earlier meeting between the two take place, as much as the abovementioned Georgian media would like us to
believe. How do I know that? Well, officially Medvedev had two meetings – one with the Turkish side and another with Moldovan President Igor Dodon. Could an unofficial meeting take place? Let’s indulge the thought, but it’s hardly believable – Both arrived late to Istanbul and Medvedev’s press aides spent the whole day with us except for those two meetings. In conclusion – we may pride ourselves in having the best ‘freedom of the press’ levels in the region, but when it comes to truthful reporting, we still have a long way to go.

With that little scandal dealt with, let’s go on to what actually happened at BSEC (Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation) 25 Anniversary summit, which, courtesy of the Turkish embassy in Georgia, I was able to attend. First, here is some trivia for you: It first came into existence in 1992, became what it is today in 1999, has 12 members (all Black Sea countries plus Albania, Serbia, Greece, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan) and is essentially the biggest regional platform for Economic cooperation. Economy is the key word here: with all political and in some cases, military turmoil, that has been plaguing the region for decades now.

Right, sure. As you well know, it is virtually impossible to separate politics and economics these days, and such an approach results in increasingly limited room to maneuver into and even more of a limited scope for cooperation. Remember Krylov’s “The Swan, The Pike and The Crab”? – Well, this is exactly what took place at the 25 Anniversary summit, with the notable distinction that there were sides that seemed to be unwilling to move at all.

They say a summit is only as good as its declaration – actually, no, I just made it up; but thing is it was the concluding declaration of the summit that proved to be the Gordian knot for the participants. On one hand, it was Georgia and the Ukraine who were vocal against Russia; on another- Armenia and Azerbaijan, traditionally unwilling to bury the proverbial hatchet. The Georgia Ukraine alliance wanted to put in a paragraph denouncing Russia’s aggressive actions in the region, while the Azerbaijan v.s. Armenia standoff ascended to the heights of Monty Pythonian absurdity, with Azerbaijani deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mahmud Mamedgulyev dutifully informing us (direct quote): “it’s them Armenians again, as always, they are keen to undermine everything we want to work together on in the region.” Which, as his Armenian counterpart, Ashot Ovakimian thought, (direct quote) was “ nonsense, as usual from Azerbaijanis”. One thing they seemed both in agreement on though was the importance of retaining cooperation with the European Union. While discussing ongoing talks over visa facilitation procedures, both underlined that this was something the people of both nations wanted and were looking forward to. As for the Ukraine, which will already enjoy visa free travel as of June 11, it was an occasion to remind the leaders of the region that War in Eastern Ukraine is far from over and indeed to point a finger over to the main culprit – Russia. Indeed, Kiev’s top diplomat, FM Pavlo Klimkin, was one of the more forthcoming and outspoken journalists at an otherwise very much media restricted, behind closed doors kind of event. His rather blunt borderline sarcastic commentary is perhaps best analyzed for understating and highlighting the challenges that the BSEC organization is currently facing:

“When you ask me whether I expect significant decisions to be made at this summit, I’ll have to say that no, regrettably I don’t have such expectations. Why? Because we have a catastrophic situation when it comes to security in the Black Sea region. All thanks to Russia, which is behind most conflicts and instability in the region. We need to sort out these security issues somehow. I told my colleagues today that the BSEC organization is in deep crisis and we need to try and find a way to move forward. Our principal position regarding the declaration is that international values and international rights should be safeguarded and adhered to. That’s something we will not and cannot compromise on. Quite understandably, we do not view Russia as a feasible partner in economics, or in any sense a trustworthy partner, truth be told. And without trust, you cannot build cooperation, economic or otherwise. “

In the end, it fell to into the responsibility of the hosts – the Turkish side -to mediate a declaration, which they successfully did – Despite the statements that the returning Georgian delegation gave to the media, notions akin of “Aggression by Russia” and “breach of international law” did not make it into the final draft (look out for that and many more during the upcoming Ukrainian chairmanship), which underlined the importance of BSEC itself as the highest level discussion and consensus finding body over economic cooperation issues in the region. It calls on all sides to respect international law, maintain safety of navigation in the Black Sea region (Russia signed this? The gall!), commends the contribution of all involved sides, mentions the importance of the cooperation with the EU, issues like shipping, innovation, young entrepreneurs’ – pretty much every subject that all concerned couldn’t start a fight over. Some might call it a generic document, yet there will be others who will hail it as a compromise found amid adversity and a future reference point. 25 years of consensus, maintaining the ever shifting scale of balance – a feat not to be dismissed. A feat BSEC seemed able to pull off thus far, but the question is – for how long?

By Vazha Tavberidze

Source: Georgia Today
Print
Other Stories
Council of Europe member states condemn Syria’s recognition of Georgia's occupied regions
Recognition of the so-called independence of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia by the Syrian regime
Syria recognizes Georgia’s occupied regions as independent states
De-facto foreign ministry of occupied Tskhinvali Region of Georgia and so-called president’s administration of occupied Abkhazia
Jens Stoltenberg and members of alliance support Georgia’s integration with NATO
Members of the alliance support Georgia’s integration with NATO in the final declaration of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
NATO Parliamentary Assembly accuses Russia of human rights violations in Ukraine and Georgia
Iryna Friz, the chairman of Ukraine’s permanent delegation, stated on her social media account
Georgia's President initiates to simplify procedures on obtaining dual citizenship
President Giorgi Margvelashvili asks the Parliament to set more liberal and simplified procedures
President of Lithuania congratulates Georgia on Independence Day in Georgian language
President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite has congratulated Georgian population on the 100th anniversary
Members of European Parliament Congratulate Georgia
To celebrate Georgia’s Independence Day, we pass on to the Georgian people the messages of congratulations
Jean-Claude Juncker to visit Tbilisi in relation to Independence Day of Georgia
Upon the invitation of President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, will visit Georgia today.
European Court of Human Rights held final hearing in case of Russian-Georgian war 2008
The European Court of Human Rights held a final hearing in the case of Georgia v. Russia (II) on May 23.
National Geographic uncovers tragic story of people living in conflict zones between Georgia and Russia-occupied territory
National Geographic uncovers the Russian intervention of Georgia in August 2008, also known as Russo-Georgian War.
Interior Minister explained reasons behind police raid at Tbilisi night clubs in Parliament
Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia addressed MPs at the plenary session of the Parliament held on May 18.
Georgian government working on amendments against illegal migration
As reported by the Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvil, the Justice Ministry has prepared amendments against illegal migration in Georgia.
US concerned over de facto South Ossetian authorities’ decision to close so-called administrative boundary line
The US Department of State is concerned by the decision of de facto South Ossetian authorities
Georgia's President congratulates the World War II veterans on Victory Day
Our ancestors all over the world could defeat fascism, as a violent and anti-human regime that threatened humanity,
De facto Ministry of Abkhazia criticizes Council of Europe’s support towards new peace initiative of Georgia
The de facto Abkhazian Foreign Ministry of Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia has responded to the resolution
Chairman of NATO Military Committee: “If Russia had not invaded Transnistria, Georgia and Ukraine, NATO would not have strengthened its military”
If Russia had not invaded Transnistria, Georgia and Ukraine, NATO would not have strengthened its military presence
Council of Europe welcomes new peace initiative of Georgia to promote interaction with Abkhazia and Tskhinvali
The Committee of Ministers' Deputies of the Council of Europe at its 1315th session adopted yet another decision
US Assistant Secretary visits occupation line: "We call on the Russia to withdraw the recognition of these regions"
The US Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Aaron Wess Mitchell visited the village Odzisi,
Ireland recognizes Georgia as safe country
The Republic of Ireland has put Georgia on a list of safe countries.
Jens Stoltenberg says Georgia greatly supports NATO by participating in its missions and operations
“Georgia is a very close partner of NATO. We are carrying out different kinds of activities
Former Prime Minister and billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili is returning to politics
Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has agreed to lead the Georgian Dream
“One day Georgia will become a member of NATO “, - President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
Georgia hosts NATO Parliamentary Assembly Seminar in Batumi, Adjara region.
NATO Days officially open in Georgia
President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili has opened NATO Days.
The Bucharest Summit Revisited
John 20:29: “How blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed”.
US mission to OSCE welcomes Georgia’s peace initiative regarding it occupied territories
The United States mission to the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) responded to the discussion
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
21.07.2018
22.07.2018
USD
1
USD
2.4417
2.4417
EUR
1
EUR
2.8436
2.8436
GBP
1
GBP
3.1813
3.1813
RUB
100
RUB
3.8430
3.8430
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.4417
EUR
1
EUR
2.8436
GBP
1
GBP
3.1813
RUB
100
RUB
3.8430
July 2018
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31