Caution advised concerning provocation of Russia, Georgia not yet ready for NATO

In accor­dance with his friend and col­league, the Ger­man For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier, Luxembourg’s For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Jean Assel­born, warns the EU to decide about an iso­la­tion of Rus­sia after its inva­sion of Geor­gia. He pro­pos­es to use the OSCE frame­work to find a peace­ful solu­tion to the conflict.[1] On anoth­er occa­sion, Assel­born con­sid­ered the NATO-Rus­sia Coun­cil to be the right instru­ment to deal with the cri­sis. Lux­em­bourg does not oppose the prin­ci­ple of a Geor­gian NATO mem­ber­ship, but prefers a step-by-step approach in the process lead­ing to membership.[2] In a par­lia­ment debate on the after­math of the Geor­gian war, speak­ers of all par­ties regret­ted the Russ­ian way of act­ing. Although they sym­pa­thise a lit­tle bit with small Geor­gia, they warn their part­ners about admit­ting Geor­gia into NATO in the near future. The Chris­t­ian Democrat[3] speak­er Lau­rent Mosar, the Lib­er­al par­ty group[4] leader Charles Goerens and his Socialist[5] coun­ter­part Ben Fay­ot, sup­port­ed the For­eign Affairs Minister’s posi­tion. Jean Huss, the Green party[6] speak­er on for­eign affairs, just like his col­leagues, acknowl­edged the quick Euro­pean response, but blamed the West and espe­cial­ly the Bush administration’s pol­i­cy: the poten­tial NATO mem­ber­ship of Geor­gia, the mis­sile defence sys­tem in Cen­tral Europe and the recog­ni­tion of the Koso­vo inde­pen­dence could only be inter­pret­ed as a provo­ca­tion for Moscow.[7] On the oth­er hand “Lux­em­bourg can­not accept the dec­la­ra­tion of inde­pen­dence of South Osse­tia and Abk­hazia rec­og­nized by the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment”; Junck­er tells social­ist news­pa­per “Tage­blatt”: “This step does not make life eas­i­er for Russia’s friends, and Lux­em­bourg is among them”[8]. The Com­mu­nist news­pa­per edi­to­ri­al­ist seems to build a kind of “unholy alliance” with the Chris­t­ian Demo­c­rat MP Lau­rent Mosar, who warned For­eign Min­is­ter Assel­born in vain in Feb­ru­ary 2008, when he urged Par­lia­ment to rec­og­nize the inde­pen­dent Kosovo.[9] The con­ser­v­a­tive news­pa­per, “Lux­em­burg­er Wort”, seems to express a gen­er­al feel­ing of the Lux­em­bourg pop­u­la­tion: “The laws of geopol­i­tics rule out an exten­sion of the alliance.”[10] But a more active Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood Pol­i­cy is not only accept­able, but a must. The Young Greens[11] regret the pas­siv­i­ty of the Lux­em­bourg diplo­ma­cy in the Cau­ca­sus, which leaves the floor to a ‘hyper­ac­tive’ French President.[12]

 

 

 

[1] Lëtze­buerg­er Jour­nal: EU will Engage­ment im Kauka­sus ver­stärken, 14 August 2008.
[2] Lux­em­burg­er Wort: In beängsti­gende Spi­rale ger­at­en, 22 August 2008.
[3] Chrëschtlech Sozial Vollekspartei.
[4] Demokratesch Partei.
[5] Lëtze­buerg­er Sozial­is­tesch Aarbechterpartei.
[6] Déi gréng.
[7] Cham­bre des Députés: Compte-ren­du des séances publiques, 11 Novem­ber 2008.
[8] Tage­blatt: Für Lux­em­burg “strikt inakzept­abel”, 27 August 2008.
[9] Zeitung vum Lëtze­buerg­er Vollek: Retourkutsche Koso­vo, 28 August 2008.
[10] Lux­em­burg­er Wort: Kauka­sis­che Gretchen­frage, 19 Sep­tem­ber 2008.
[11] Déi jonk gréng.
[12] Lëtze­buerg­er Jour­nal: EU will Engage­ment im Kauka­sus ver­stärken, 14 August 2008.