#DiplomaticCentennial Radu Liviu Horumba: "Georgia is actually a direct neighbour of Romania, through the Black Sea"
Romania and Georgia are planning to get to know each other better and to learn more about each other's history, to mark some of the important moments for the two countries and to develop bilateral economic cooperation, Romania's Ambassador to Georgia Radu Liviu Horumba told an interview granted to AGERPRES.
In the year when Romania marks the Centennial of its Great Union, Georgia is celebrating on May 26, 2018, on its national day, the Centennial of the Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia, the first modern Georgian state, which existed for a short while, between 1918-1921, and with which Romania established diplomatic ties. This is a historical reality that also generated the initiative to organize a common cultural year in 2019, one of the projects meant "to develop the cultural relations, which are beginning to reappear."
"We are two profoundly religious nations, Orthodox nations, our churches have always played an overwhelmingly important role throughout our history, as a pillar of our societies," stated the Romanian diplomat, while evoking the great personality of Antim the Iberian, Metropolitan of Ungro-Wallachia, who was born in Georgia, from the time of ruler Constantin Brancoveanu.
Radu Liviu Horumba also speaks in this interview about the Romanian-Georgian cooperation within NATO, in the context in which "security in the Black Sea area was severely affected by Russia's aggressions, which defied the international laws, "and also about the current stage of implementation of the joint projects in the energy and transportation areas."
Not least, the Romanian Ambassador in Tbilisi said in his interview he gave on Friday in Bucharest that a possible return of the separatist regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia to Georgia will be "a long process," that "will find its solution in a democratic, free and prosperous Georgia, which will also be a catalyst for the communities in the separatist regions."
The interview is part of the year-long editorial project #DiplomaticCentennial of AGERPRES, with a focus on Romania's diplomatic relations in the year when the country celebrates 100 years since its Great Union.
AGERPRES: To what extent have the Georgian citizens taken advantage of the liberalization of the visa regime for travels inside the European Union, end-March 2017? Which were, as far as you know, their preferred destination and how many of them decided to use this regime to come to Romania?
Radu Liviu Horumba: This is an important question, for it refers to a very important moment in Georgia's endeavor for meeting its European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations: the lifting of visa requirements for travels to EU states for 90 days during a semester, which confirms the progress that the Georgian society made in its reform and democratization process, and in its efforts of getting closer to the European and Western values. Romania was among the EU member states that strongly supported this political moment and its achievement, since the very beginning - we know and we still remember very well that moment many years ago when we felt the positive impact that the liberalization of the visas for the Romanian citizens traveling in the European Union had. According to a statement the Georgian Prime Minister made in February 2018, in Brussels, on the occasion of the signing of the EU-Georgia association agenda for 2018-2020, some 170,000 Georgian citizens used this opportunity to travel to EU member states. Obviously, the main destinations were those having large Georgian communities or a significant Georgian diaspora, and I am talking about Greece, Poland and Germany, those states that are economically important in the European Union; Romania was not a destination for them, and there is a reason for that, namely because, we currently do not have direct flights between the two countries, a situation that I hope is going to change as soon as possible.
AGERPRES: Generally speaking, what were the effects of the implementation of the agreements regarding the travel regime, the association agreement with the EU and the one regarding the Comprehensive Free Trade Area on the Georgian economy and society? Did the population's support for the EU accession grow?
Radu Liviu Horumba: In general, we can say that the Georgian citizens' support for the European integration of the country is quite high, as high as 70 or 80 percent. In March 2017, when a poll was conducted after the lifting of the visa requirements, the percentage grew significantly, even exceeding 80 percent, but now it has returned to its normal value. But the level of support of the Georgian population is still very high, and the fact that the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, and especially the Free Trade Agreement exist, also has an impact on Georgia's foreign trade. Right now, the European Union is basically the main trade partner of this country - we are talking about 30 percent of the total Georgian foreign trade, followed by Georgia's neighboring countries, especially Turkey.
Obviously, Georgia does take advantage of this openness, as it diversified its production, multiplied its economic ties, while the Free Trade Agreement that it has in place with the European Union - the same as other states from the Eastern Partnership, such as the Republic of Moldova or Ukraine, also favours the economy, alongside other free trade agreements that the government of this country was lucky to conclude with other states over time. The most recent agreement was the one concluded with China, and this is just to see how wide a range these agreements and these policies address.
And, of course, this is also important for us, for the Romanian business environment, it is important for connectivity, for the connections that are not just of business, but also concern transports, crossing the Black Sea, from the Far East, the Central Asia, from the Caspian area to Europe, from Europe to these destinations and even further to the Asia-Pacific area, about which we all know that it is going to be a very, very important centre for global development. And Romania is an entrance gate for these areas to Europe. And, on the other hand, Georgia is like an access gate to the Eastern zone.
AGERPRES: During the Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili's visit in Bucharest last year, the idea that Romanian companies should consider the opportunities created for the European companies by the process of implementation of the Association Agreement concluded between Georgia and the European Union was underscored. What would be the opportunities for the Romanian investors from this perspective?
Radu Liviu Horumba: This was a very important visit that took place here, in Bucharest, on April 26-27, 2017, with very substantial discussions held between the heads of the Executives of the two countries and the Georgian PM with other Romanian political leaders. At that point, a declaration of the Prime Ministers on the marking of 25 years of bilateral relations with the new independent Georgia was signed, as our historical relations are, actually, much, much older. The declaration, which is quite comprehensive and substantial, enumerates the political objectives that we established, including in terms of bilateral collaboration at regional level. It has to do with the Black Sea and the important East-West transport corridors. On the same occasion, it has also been confirmed the existence of a bilateral political dialogue, I would say exceptional and, obviously, it marks some important decisions in respect to the expansion of the bilateral cooperation sectors. It is, therefore, normal to work together to strengthen our economic relations and capitalize on the relaxation of the visa regime, in order to increase people to people interaction and contacts. This is a big advantage, a big opportunity that both Bucharest and Tbilisi authorities are trying to capitalize on.
AGERPRE: How do things stand with the popular support for the country's accession to NATO? Do you think that we will ever get this chance of seeing Georgia in NATO, considering the existence of the two separatist regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, recognized by Russia?
Radu Liviu Horumba: The matter of security in the Caucasus area was always extremely important and with a high impact at regional level, and not since yesterday, or the day before yesterday. Ever since Georgia obtained its independence we have known about Russia's attempts, since the moment of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in fact, to maintain control in this area, in a traditional manner, such as military control, if possible, by also launching the "close vicinity" concept, which appeared immediately after the installation of the Boris Yeltsin regime in Russia. Obviously, Russia is not happy with the former Soviet republic's aspirations to a better life, a more prosperous life and, of course, a more secure life. Which means that it is understandable why Georgia is basically militating not only for its integration within the European Union, but also for its future accession to NATO. This is no longer a novelty in 2018, when we are marking 10 years since the NATO summit in Bucharest, and I want to remind you all, on this occasion, that the states in our Eastern vicinity were invited to prepare themselves, those interested, of course, for a potential future accession to NATO. What followed next we know very well: the existence of these separatist regions, the conflict with Russia from August [2008 - editor's note], the recognition by Russia of these entities, while we, the Western world, still don't recognize these decisions of Moscow, all having to do with a very clear standpoint of Romania in respect to Georgia. We are firmly supporting Georgia's independence, sovereignty and territorial independence, within the internationally recognized borders. Or, this is not only a political statement, but also a quite strong commitment on our part through the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia, which took place in 2008. Right now, and during this entire operation, Romania has had the most numerous number of monitors involved.
AGERPRED: Redrawing the borders by using force, on Russia's part, and the militarization of the Black Sea, of late, has led to an increase of Romania's role as a NATO member state, in the security equation in the area. What are the perspectives of collaboration between Romania and Georgia, as a NATO partner country, in this area?
Radu Liviu Horumba: Obviously, the security paradigm in the Black Sea region, on NATO's Eastern flank, has changed. Security in the Black Sea area has been seriously affected by these Russian aggressions that defied the international laws, which started with the invasion of Crimea, while the continuation of this crisis in the Eastern Ukraine does nothing else but add to the series or string of prolonged conflicts, or frozen, how we used to called them in the past, which affect the Republic of Moldova, which obviously affect Georgia, and also the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It is important that NATO is in the area, that it gradually responds to these aggressive manifestations of the Russian Federation, through actions that were not initiated by the North-Atlantic Alliance, but represented a reaction. It's clear, Romania in its capacity as a member of the Alliance on the Eastern flank, as a country located in the Black Sea basin, and not since yesterday, remains active in its relation with the allies, in focusing attention on the developments in the Black Sea region. We must also bring to mind the results of the NATO summits in the Wales and Warsaw in 2016, and obviously, about the current security developments in the Black Sea area, which will also be one of the topics discussed at the future NATO Summit in Brussels. But you asked about Georgia. Georgia is in good relations with NATO; there are constant political contacts between the Georgian authorities and the representatives of the Alliance, the representatives of the NATO member states and, obviously, there is collaboration in the defence line. We, for instance, started in 2018, in January, with the visit of the Georgian Defence Minister to Romania. Obviously, these political contacts will continue in the future.
AGERPRES: After the armed conflict in August 2008 in Georgia, EU set up a Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in this country. EUMM's mandate was prolonged in 2016 until December 14, 2018. We know that Romania participates with observers in this mission. What can you tell us about the activity of the Romanian observers during this mission? Were there important things that happened during their mission?
Radu Liviu Horumba: First of all, the EUMM mission is the result of the conflict that took place in Georgia in August [2008 - editor's note] and this is the first clear involvement of the European Union as a political factor, and diplomatic, if you want, in solving and stabilizing the conflict. Of course that we have been participating in this mission from the very beginning, and we have the largest national contingent in the EUMM's current structure. EUMM is a civil operation, first of all, of the European Union, which brings an important contribution to the stability and knowledge of the reality in the field, given that they make observations and reports. EUMM is the most credible factor helping us to know about what happens there, along the contact lines with the separatist regions. Incident occur there regularly, the separatists launch all kinds of challenges, especially when it comes to people who want to cross from one side to the other, property matters that are from back then, agricultural plots of lands that are separated, to which the land owners have no access. First of all, and probably the most important thing is that the EUMM mission is being carried out, it is operating and will continue to do so for a certain period.
AGERPRES: You were saying, back in an interview from March 2017, that Georgia is recognized as a champion of democracy in the region, as for many years it claimed the top positions in the relevant international rankings regarding the corruption rate and transparency of the administrative activity. How would you explain the negative perception of Georgia in Romania, although a decade has already passed since the conflict with Russia back in 2008?
Radu Liviu Horumba: Let me ask you how you know that there is a negative perception? What led you to that conclusion?
AGERPRES: I am not referring to the diplomatic environment precisely, but if you try to discuss with regular people you will see that there is a certain reticence ...
Radu Liviu Horumba: I don't believe that they are reticent. I believe that they don't know enough, they lack interest and both parties should work more to solve this. If someone is curious to know more about the recent history of Georgia, he/she will see that, in fact, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, as it happened in the entire Soviet zone, except maybe for the Baltic states, in whose case the situation is different, had a massive negative impact on the economy of the resulting states, their living standards, their people's living standards, including in Georgia. Georgia is one of the places in the former Soviet Union with an advanced industry, even very advanced, in fact, if we think that they used to produce planes in Tbilisi, and cars, and the change was basically a setback.
On the other hand, the economic reconstruction and society reform, the switch to the democratic reform, to a market economy was basically initiated in 2003-2004, after the Rose Revolution and with the departure of Eduard Shevardnadze. Surely, the support of the Western world also mattered very much here, especially that of the Americans. In the same period, let's remember this, 2003-2004 meant for us the finalization of our process of accession to NATO, a generally intense activity that we were involved in for the finalization of our accession to the European Union on January 1, 2017. Obviously, we were very focused as a society, and also as authorities, and turned towards the Western side of Europe, so that it was a time during which we neglected more than usual our relations with our neighbours. Georgia is in fact, owing to the Black Sea, a direct neighbour of Romania. I am certain that this situation will be overcome and it is important that we now have plans, we have this objective of getting to know each other better, to know our history better, and to mark the various important moments, for both Romania and Georgia.
Radu Liviu Horumba: I only wish to bring to mind to everyone that this year, the year we mark the Centennial of Romania's Great Union and modern Romania, Georgia celebrates on May 26, 2018, on the national day, the Centennial of modern Georgia's Declaration of Independence. Few know that right after the First World War, for a short time, during 1918 and 1921, a modern Georgian state, that emerged as a result of the fall of the Tsar Empire, was called the Democratic Republic of Georgia, with whom Romania established connections in 1918. So last year we celebrated 25 years of diplomatic relations. That is not quite right; we are actually resuming and continuing diplomatic relations. We are talking about 1918, but our history, even the diplomatic one, if you wish, is a lot older, so we are talking about over 300 years, practically since there were documents to prove that there was a diplomatic relation, at least through the correspondence between the Georgian king Vakhtang the Sixth (1716-1724) and Constantin Brancoveanu.
AGERPRES: Concerning the topic of combating corruption, Georgia recorded, according to the Georgian media, important progress in regards to eliminating bribery in the police, administrative and medical sectors. This appears to have been possible by alternating between higher wages with severe punishments for receiving bribery. Mr. Ambassador, what initiatives could be taken up from Georgia's experience in combating corruption?
Radu Liviu Horumba: I avoid making such comparisons, especially since we are talking about countries with populations of different sizes. We must think that we are as many as we are, Georgia is a country where 3,5 million people live, and on the other hand, they greatly benefited from and knew to make use of the assistance which the West offered, especially the United States, which have been by Georgia's side in a Strategic Partnership, since 1992, when the first civil conflicts began. This thing was possible not just through modifying the legislation, not only through the use of measures that had a special impact, on a social level, if we think about the fact that the former president, (Mikheil) Saakashvili basically rebuilt from scratch the structures of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the fact that information technology was heavily introduced and used, and obviously, the conditions for setting up a company were liberalized, the number of taxes were reduced, hence a de-bureaucratization that certainly had a series of results. But once again, this isn't something new.
AGERPRES: Can you tell us about the common regional energy projects Romania and Georgia are currently partners in and what their status is?
Radu Liviu Horumba: Firstly, it is a partnership of many states, if we bring to mind that the European Union itself highly supported this energy corridor of Southern Caucasus, so it was about bringing this energy resources especially from the Caspian area through Caucasus, through Turkey, towards Europe, and obviously, throughout the years, work has been done not only with Georgia, but with Azerbaijan and other states from the Caspian region as well. These projects are practically ready to be completed, let us consider that during the course of the year the construction of the gas pipeline that leaves from Azerbaijan, goes through Turkey and goes ahead towards Europe is going to be finalised, we are talking about TANAP, which also passes through Georgia, and Georgia will benefit from the effects of this transit. We obviously have periodic discussions, we worked together not only with Georgians, but with the Azerbaijanis and the European authorities concerning the AGRI project. Obviously, these talks will also continue because there is a European framework for discussions on energy infrastructure.
AGERPRES: What is the status of projects in the transport sector?
Radu Liviu Horumba: Georgia is, if we look at it geographically, similar to Romania, a country where there aren't just energy transport corridors, but corridors for cargo and people. The energy pipeline basically didn't do anything else but to follow what was already there, and I would like to bring to mind the median route of the Silk Road, which is an important thing concerning the size of connectivity. It is a new term, that we come across especially after the Eastern Partnership Summit of November 2017, where, among the twenty measures aiming to implement EU projects with the partner states are also mentioned those in relation to communication, transport and others, which are under the umbrella term of "connectivity". Clearly, we also have important interests both we and the Georgians - in a recent interview with the Georgian ambassador to Romania, he talks about creating a very solid bridge over the Black Sea, between Romania and Georgia. These are objectives that we are following, they are being discussed, there are still topics for discussion at different levels, with different political contacts that we have. We hope to see results soon and maybe we will see an air line between Bucharest and Tbilisi, which will undoubtedly accelerate and consolidate this process.
AGERPRES: In 2016, both Romania and Georgia marked 300 years since the death of Antim the Iberian, Metropolitan of Bucharest, born in Georgia, including through a special Mass at the Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral, with the participation of a representative of the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II. Do such events exemplify a closeness of the two orthodox churches, and can they represent, in a larger context, a cultural closeness, given the complex personality of Antim the Iberian?
Radu Liviu Horumba: Thank you for this question, which for me holds many personal nuances. I left and took over my post in Georgia on the same date when the Romanian Orthodox Church celebrated the church patron of Antim the Iberian, we are talking about September 27, something which I discovered when I flying to Tbilisi, reading the press. I felt blessed. This is the reality and obviously this central character of the bilateral history of the Romanian and Georgian people, Antim the Iberian, has a special importance for me, personally. Ceratinly, we are two religious peoples, we are orthodox peoples, and our churches have always had an overwhelming importance, throughout our history, being, let's call it, a reference element in our societies.
Antim the Iberian, as a man of culture and a man of church, has done many things and is well known for his activity, not only in the Church books and in keeping the faith, but also concerning the development of the print and few people know that, for example, in 1709, Antim the Iberian, from his position as Patriarch of Ungro-Wallachia, made a donation to the Georgian Orthodox Church, by installing in 1709 a printing press that would allow the Georgian Church to print their own books. It would seem it was in this printing press that the famous letter of king Vahtang to Constantin Brancoveanu was printed. So, you see, things are connected. We are approaching the month of June. On June 26, according to the decision of the Holy Synod of Georgian Orthodox Church, in Georgia, at the Ude church, in the southern part of Georgia, the town where Antim the Iberian was born, his patronage will be celebrated and we go there, every year.
AGERPRES: How is Antim the Iberian perceived in his home country, Georgia? Is he just as appreciated as he is in Romania?
Radu Liviu Horumba: In my opinion, yes, especially by the church. The fact that the marking of 300 years since Antim the Iberian's martyrdom and contribution to bilateral relationships was celebrated in 2016 at Tbilisi and was closely watched by the media and the people, that says something. I would like to say that, in a society like Georgia, which is a multi-ethnical and multi-religious, the law that governs the activity of the Religious Affairs Agency, that regulates and manages, from a secular point of view the state's relationship with the spokespersons of various religions, we are talking about Christians, Muslims, Shiites, Sunni, the Jewish community and others, the Law on religious affairs in Georgia was inspired by the Law on religious affairs from Romania, they told us.
AGERPRES: Do you believe that Romania and George know each other well enough, culturally speaking?
Radu Liviu Horumba: I believe they do, but more work needs to be done. The newer generations lost a lot of this knowledge, and I explained this situation from my own perspective. It is time to turn our heads to our neighbors, and, obviously, to work together so that we can develop cultural relationships that are slowly starting to reaffirm themselves. Surely, there are a lot of projects that we could carry out, be it that next year there will be a cultural year, or that we will set up a panel of historians to look through the archives and put together a volume of documents that can attest how old our bilateral relations are. I believe that there are important projects, of interest, and the twinnings that we are working on between various towns, capitals, and Constanta and Batumi, for example, as well as other projects, such as collaborations between schools. For instance, in Bucharest, in the 1st district, there is the Technological High School Antim the Iberian. In Tbilisi there is a school called Antim the Iberian, so there are opportunities that we will create and support, in order for people to get to know one another.
AGERPRES: Romania does not recognize the two separate republics from Georgia, and yet the Embassy in Tbilisi also represents the interest of the Romanian citizens who are/might be inside those territories. Where there any problems, or complications, from this point a view, of the relationship with the separatist authorities in the context of representing the interests of Romanian citizens?
Radu Liviu Horumba: Interesting question, but we have not registered any problems or consular situations of which you speak, for the simple fact that legally there isn't a single problem when it comes to traveling from Georgia to these provinces. The issue is whether one can pass by the Russian border patrol, who were tasked with the security of these so-called republics, that is the question. There is indeed a law in force, and we don't know how it will be altered, or amended, which states that it is a crime, including for foreigners, if you come to the territory under the control of Tbilisi from the Abkhazia and Ossetia regions, going through Russia. What is certain is that we, as an embassy, have never had problems with Romanian citizens concerning this.
AGERPRES: How large is the Romanian community in Georgia? Do you count on the involvement of Romanians in Georgia to organize the events dedicated to the Centennial of the Great Union?
Radu Liviu Horumba: The Romanian community in Georgia, unlike the communities that we have in other European states, is obviously small. We are talking about roughly 80 people, us included, the Embassy's staff, and also the Romanian monitors, deployed within the EUMM mission. We hope that this community grows in time, obviously, we are very close to them, on various opportunities, not just those connected to the Centennial. We are talking about the marking of the Great Union Day, of January 24, about the "Martisor" celebration, and other cultural events which we are trying to organize with our community, to have them close to us, first and foremost. There is also a community of Moldovans in Tbilisi. We are thus trying to be close and meet with all the Romanian speaking people from Georgia. At our meetings with the community we are trying to call representatives from the Georgian society, including local political people, such as members of Parliament. The leader of the MP friendship group Georgia - Romania from the Georgian Parliament is a person who has also fulfilled for a long time the title of Honorary Consul of The Republic of Moldova to Georgia and is close to those two Romanian-speaking communities.
AGERPRES: What sort of events would you like to organize, with the occasion of the Centennial?
Radu Liviu Horumba: We have already begun part of them. The Union Day, obviously, is an important event, on which occasion we highlighted and underlined the unity of Wallachia, Tara Romaneasca and Moldova under Alexandru Ioan Cuza for the prospect it created, the Union of Alba Iulia. Without this moment, Alba Iulia would not have been possible, I am certain. On the other hand we celebrate every year the Francophone Days. Georgia is not necessarily a Francophone country, it is a country associated with the Francophone. This year we marked 25 years of membership of the International Organisation of La Francophonie, and on this occasion, on the agenda of the manifestation, for which we coordinated together with the French Embassy and other francophone missions in Georgia, we organized a screening of the "Forest of the Hanged" movie and an exhibition dedicated to "General Berthelot: Soldier of France and Hero of Romania." We also have other events that we will dedicate to the Centennial and we will obviously bring out other facets of Romania's history and the Romanian culture.
AGERPRES: June 25 will mark 26 years since the diplomatic relations between Romania and Georgia resumed. What were the main three accomplishments in this period for the Georgian-Romanian relations? What about failures?
Radu Liviu Horumba: It is more difficult to talk about failures, because I've only been Ambassador to Georgia since 2016, and our bilateral relationship has always had an upward trend. I can talk about last year's accomplishment, to which my collaborators from the embassy and I have contributed. Firstly, I mentioned the visit of the Prime Minister of Georgia in Bucharest, on which occasion the Declaration was adopted, the one I have already talked about, in which the directions of Romania's collaboration with Georgia were outlined.
I would add here the visit of the Georgian Parliament Chairman in Bucharest on November 2017, and let us not forget that in the bilateral relation, apart from the lines that we have talked about - political, diplomatic, economic, social, cultural, people to people - there is a very important dimension of Parliamentary diplomacy, which is complementary and of great help. Members of Parliament are elected, they have communities where they can encourage the local economy, the local population for strengthening contacts with other entities, including at the level of local administrations. The various twinning accords, between localities, Town Halls, regions, will actually help all our efforts. In this context, the Parliamentary dimension is important and must be used.
AGERPRES: The recognition by Russia of the Georgian separatist entities, Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia, strengthened through so-called alliance and integration treaties has led to an accumulation of Russian troops and military hardware in the two separatist zones. A solution to the two separatist conflicts on Georgia's territory seems to be far away, especially given the negotiation format between Georgia and Russia within the Geneva International Discussions is stalling. Under these conditions, are there any prospects of these territories returning to Georgia?
Radu Liviu Horumba: It is a long-term effort. Firstly, we need to understand that the independence aspirations of the two entities are a bit different. If we are referring to Abkhazia, the fact that this population is of Turkish origin, it is Muslim, makes the acceptance of the so-called integration, Russification, difficult for locals from a certain point, especially since it doesn't necessarily bring any benefits concerning the standards of living.
As far as Southern Ossetia is concerned, there, from the very beginning, even before the conflict started, separatist leaders had pleaded constantly for the incorporation, the integration within Russia. As proof, they had a referendum last year for changing this entity into Southern Republic of Ossetia - Alania, the old name of Ossetia region.
Tbilisi, firstly, is to be appreciated because it shows great patience. They clearly stated that they will finish this conflict in a political and peaceful way. There is an entire discussion concerning the adoption of a resolution, of a decision concerning the non-use of force, idea which is provided for as such in the 6-point agreement that French President Nicolas Sarkozy concluded with Dmitri Medvedev in 2008, when the latter was president. Russia has, as usual, two standards. By recognising these two entities, they are not considered to be part of the conflict. So, I can certainly say that this is a long process. I am convinced that it will be resolved through a democratic, free and prosperous Georgia, which will also be a catalyst for the communities in the separatist regions as well. AGERPRES (RO - author: Florin Stefan editor: Adriana Matcovschi; EN - author: Cristina Zaharia, Catalin Cristian Trandafir, editor: Simona Iacob)