Sarkozy agreement = no deal

Kommersant points out that the chances of success for the updated agreement that was brokered by Nicolas Sarkozy and signed by both parties to the conflict on Monday look slim, to say the least. For one thing, there is a total divergence between the way in which the agreement is viewed by Moscow and Tbilisi, to the extent where it is possible to talk of two different documents having been signed. The Georgian government signed a document which stipulated that the proposed international observers will operate not only in the so-called “buffer zones” established by Russian forces, but also on the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But Russia insists that a huge contingent of its regular armed forces will have sole responsibility for security in these Georgian provinces.

Another apparently unbridgeable gap between the two sides is the fact that Moscow intends to insist that South Ossetia and Abkhazia should take part in the regional talks that will begin in Geneva on October 15. This is categorically opposed by Tbilisi. Russia will also demand that Abkhazia be represented at the next meeting of the UN Security Council, and will use its influence to have the meeting moved to an alternative location in Europe if visas are not made available to Abkhazian representatives – a step that would effectively be a hijacking by Moscow of the UN’s authority.

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