Bildt: Consensus Over Post-Soviet Borders Is Gone

Published: 20 Jan 2010 08:30


BRUSSELS - Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said January 20 that the basic consensus on post-Soviet borders has disappeared since the brief Georgia-Russia war in August 2008.

Speaking at the launch of a book by German Marshall Fund analyst Ron Asmus entitled "A Little War That Shook the World: Georgia, Russia and the Future of the West," Bildt said that "either one border after another will now be questioned or we say that this was a mistake and we need to seek solutions."

He also said that the West should have challenged the presence of Soviet peacekeeping forces [in frozen conflict areas] in the former Soviet empire. His view was that the West should have been firmer in response to Russian provocations and reacted to moves such as military aircraft flying over Georgia as a "warning" to the country ahead of a visit by the then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"More attention needs to be given to frozen conflicts," he added. "Now it's a stalemate in the region and that is likely to be the case for quite some time to come," he said.

Bildt indicated that there are currently two monologues - Russia's and the West's - but that that was beginning to change.

One reason the conflict took place was that the West was fractured and had no coherent policy, Bildt argued.

Ron Asmus, the Executive Director at the Transatlantic Center and Strategic Planning at the German Marshall Fund, said Russia's aim from the conflict was "regime change" in Georgia and he was not sure if it had abandoned that aim. "The region is less stable than before. The future status of the region is up in the air," he said, adding that "the risk of future conflict is still there and is very real."



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