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Dec. 12, 2006
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New Plan for Abkhazia and South Ossetia
The general outlines of the settlement plan for Kosovo developed by Marti Ahtisaari, special representative of the General Secretary of the United Nations, were made known yesterday by the British newspaper The Independent. It will be officially announced after the January 21 parliamentary elections in Serbia and after its confirmation by the UN Security Council. The plan calls for Kosovo to be placed under the management of the European Union without declaration of its independence. Russia is now preparing a proposal for settlements in Abkhazia and South Ossetia based on the Kosovo plan.
Under the plan, the key figure in Kosovo will become a international civilian representative appointed by the EU. The province will retain its president, parliament and government, but the civilian representative will have the power to annul any of their decisions and even to dismiss government officials if it is thought that they are acting in conflict with the interests of the EU. NATO forces will remain in the province, as will OSCE representatives. The plan does not call for formal independence for Kosovo, as Albanian Kosovan leaders are insisting on. One for the offices of the international representative will be in Belgrade. That gives the appearance of a compromise to the plan, and increases the likelihood of Russian support for it in the UN Security Council and eventual Serbian acceptance of it.

Russia's chief demand of the settlement is that it be universally applicable, that is, in other conflicts, such as those in the former Soviet Union. Kommersant has learned that a variation on the plan is being developed in Moscow for use in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The essence of the plan is a unified state in the form of a confederation of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. As part of the unified state, Abkhazia and South Ossetia would remain parts of Georgia, but with practically independent governments. The main difference between that and their present status, therefore, is it would become internationally recognized.

Russia will begin its campaign for its concept with the visit of South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity to Moscow at the end of the week. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is unlikely to accept the plan voluntarily, but Western pressure might sway him.


All the Article in Russian as of Dec. 12, 2006

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