Georgian Defense Minister Davit Tevzadze, visiting Romania, unveiled a proposal to create a joint peacekeeping contingent of the GUAM countries–Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova– for missions in the Caspian Sea-Black Sea area. According to Tevzadze, experts of the four GUAM countries recently held consultations on this proposal. It envisages, in addition to peacekeeping operations, deployment along the planned oil export routes to Europe in order to ensure the security of pipelines.
Its proponents hope to form the GUAM force in cooperation with NATO and with the rapid-deployment force that NATO plans to station in the Balkans. Romania, a Black Sea country interested in importing Caspian oil and abutting on two GUAM countries, is said to have welcomed the proposal on the conditions that NATO approves it and that the United States participates in the implementation (Turan, December 9).
The idea also fits in with an earlier Turkish proposal to form a joint peacekeeping force of South Caucasus countries under the leadership of Turkey as a NATO member. Both proposals form part of an ongoing search for alternatives to Russian “peacekeeping” and conflict management–two self-arrogated tools that Moscow misuses in its own geopolitical interest in this region.
OPENING GAMBITS IN NEGOTIATIONS ON SOUTH OSSETIA.