Arkady Moshes – Interview

VILNIUS, Nov 04, BNS – The European Union (EU) does not
appreciate those constantly in opposition, and consistent bringing up of own
interests is not a winning tactic in Brussels, a Finnish analyst said as the
official Vilnius noted Russia’s failure to fulfill in Georgia the necessary
conditions to renew talks with the European Union (EU).

The search for compromise predominates in the EU, Arkady
Moshes of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs told BNS on Tuesday,
noting Lithuania
to have made use of this by getting issues of concern to the country on the
EU-Russia Strategic Partnership Agreement mandate.

”It is not up to me to give advice on Lithuanian
foreign policy to the Lithuanian leadership. There are essentially two ways
that the members of the European Union behave in the union regardless of Russia. One way
is to seek for a compromise (…). There is another way to behave, that is to
keep raising the concerns (…). Once these kinds of concerns are taken into account,
we come up with a new set of concerns. I think that in the European Union, this
kind of position is normally not appreciated. And therefore this is a kind of
tactic that can be successfully played once, maybe twice. (…) Lithuania has
one neighboring state that has been doing that way too often, and the outcome
was that it antagonized another neighbor”.

Moshes also noted it as wrong to see Russia as in more need
of the new Strategic Partnership Agreement than the EU, and said Russian forces
remaining in Georgia’s separatist regions after the military conflict is not an
essential problem in EU-Russia dialog.

”I think it would be wise to take the assessment of the French diplomacy
as a starting point. The basic problem is still there. The basic problem is not
about the withdrawal of troops. The basic problem is that Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia
and South Ossetia and this recognition will
not be taken back. The European Union did not recognize the independence of these
two and it supports the territorial integrity of Georgia as it looked before the
five-day war. This is a systemic contradiction and this systemic contradiction
has to be addressed at some point, and it has not been addressed, also because
the Geneva
negotiations have not even started. It will be there (the contradiction – BNS),
and therefore there will always be possibilities to challenge the conclusion of
the French diplomacy”, the Finnish analyst, who is also a Russian passport
holder, said.

The French were ones to negotiate the Georgia peace plan, and if they are
happy with the implementation of the plan, we should move ahead based on their
assessments rather than other interpretations, Moshes said.

Moshes acknowledged the theoretical possibility of the coming conservative rule
in Lithuania
to be detrimental to Lithuania-Russia relations, however noted the highly
unlikelihood of this case scenario.

”Maybe I am wrong, but I don’t expect any major changes. I think that the Lithuanian foreign policy, since it regained independence, demonstrated
continuity more than breakthrough changes. It was still the same line, there were
nuances in the line, but the line was there. And the line is that Lithuania always had a position of principle on
quite a number of issues that were concerning Russia, but it also always could
see its own benefits, lets say the benefits of the pragmatic approach whenever
it was possible. It started from the whole Kaliningrad dossier, where the Lithuanian
position as such was never a problem. Again it was a position of principle, but
it never wanted to have an opposition of principle to anything that Lithuania could
pragmatically gain”, the Finnish analyst spoke.

It is too early to renew talks on the new partnership agreement with Russia until
the Russian forces retreat, the Lithuanian and Polish presidents noted in a
joint declaration released Monday.

The document calls upon the international community and governments of the European
Union (EU) to ”demand full and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops
from Georgian territory in compliance with the Aug. 12 ceasefire agreement,
which was unanimously confirmed by the European leaders at the Sept. 1 EU

The official Paris, however, said it sees the necessary conditions for renewing
EU-Russia partnership talks as sufficiently fulfilled.