Expert: The Situation Involving Unrecognized Territories in Europe Got Set in Motion

Home / Analytics / Expert: The Situation Involving Unrecognized Territories in Europe Got Set in Motion
Dmitry Astakhov Kosovo, Transdniestria, Abkhazia and other conflict points in Europe got in the epicenter of dynamic processes which are to change these territories’ international status-quo in prospective. You can often hear international experts talking, since the year begun, about the increasing dynamics within the unrecognized territorial entities. The events taking place in these regions one can hardly consider a simple coincidence or an accident. The whole last year the Kosovo Settlement situation was on everyone’s lips. Many believed, that Belgrade and Pristina have come quite close to the reach the final compromise. It was presumed, that a comprehensive Serbian-Kosovo agreement this way or another can help with the outcome in other problem areas – especially political conflict defrosting in the post-Soviet regions.  However, due to a number of insurmountable differences, the negotiations of Serbia and Kosovo were paused, and the partially recognized republic plunged into a deep domestic political crisis. Nevertheless, diplomatic work apparently did not stop and this week the first signals of internal political deadlock overcoming appeared (apparently, not without the participation of Washington and Brussels). After the Kosovo president nominated the new prime minister candidate, it became noun that Joseph Borel, the European Commissioner for Foreign Policy is expected to visit Pristina next week. The European official plans to hold consultations on the new Kosovo government formation. At the same time with American’s diplomacy active assistance on Monday, January 20, Serbia and Kosovo agreed and signed a memorandum on resuming flights between the two capitals - Belgrade and Pristina (for the first time since the conflict). The meeting of delegations was held in Berlin, at the US Embassy in Germany. The document was also signed by representatives of the German company Lufthansa, which is supposed to carry out commercial air travels. This step is a quite powerful political symbolism expected to give a completely different “breath” to the Serbian-Kosovo dialogue. Meanwhile, another European official, Thomas Mayr-Harting, “chartered” by the Albanian diplomacy for the country's chairmanship in the OSCE period, is on a three-day visit to Moldova, where complicated storylines flare up around the Transdniestrian conflict. It is still difficult to say which practical outcome will conclude this visit, although the obvious result can be attributed to the cessation of the automobile confrontation, which was largely suspended due to this visit. A particular interest requires the conflicts situation surrounding North Caucasus. So, after a very long pause, Russian servicemen resumed work to establish the so-called borders between South Ossetia and Georgia. According to the Georgian side, experts have advanced about 200 m inland, controlled by constitutional authorities. According to Tbilisi’s calculations, such a development of events could ultimately lead to the fact that Georgia will de facto decrease by several dozen hectares. Meanwhile, from August 29, 2019, meetings between the Georgian and Ossetian delegations in the format of incident prevention mechanism to discuss similar problems were discontinued. Despite the difficult crisis within internal policy that erupted in Abkhazia at the beginning of the year, curious details began to appear in the Turkish press about discussions going on different channels around the fate of two unrecognized entities - the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the Republic of Abkhazia. In particular, the former head of the internal security department of the General Turkey Staff, director of the research institute “Turkey in the 21st Century”, Ünal Atabay announced that the Kremlin is seriously studying the possibility of concluding the next deal. In exchange for removing the obstacles that exist with Turkey in Syria and energy cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean, it is allegedly planned to recognize the TRNC or to ensure recognition by Abkhazia, after which Turkey will also recognize the unrecognized Caucasian republic. Thus, Moscow expects to receive a military base in the TRNC, and in addition, in the future, create a logistics point that will be used in the process of rebuilding Syria. In general, we can confidently say that the international attention to conflict zones and unrecognized territories does not weaken, as it may seem from internal political processes in countries-global actors. World and regional processes do not stand still, and with them the positions of key players, as a result of which one can observe the re-actualization of unresolved conflicts becoming part of tactical and strategic alignments. The Transdniestrian settlement is still far from the epicenter of geopolitical games. However, the actively developing international situation around Moldova over the past few years gives reason to say that reformatting the Moldovan space is only a matter of time.