The Association Agreement – New Conflict Resolution Mechanism Or Another Beautiful Cloth On The Same Body?

Levan Makhashvili

Abstract


Recent novel internal and international developments in the region, not least the accelerated violence and Russian aggression, signing of the Association Agreements with the European Union as well as the so called “partnership agreements” between Russia and Georgia’s breakaway regions, have brought necessity to originally reevaluate the Union’s instruments in the conflicts in Georgia.

The paper will evaluate the Association Agreement in terms of conflict resolution in Georgia by answering the following questions: does the AA provide new instruments enabling Georgia to effectively implement confidence-building measures? Does it empower the existing mechanisms? How does it surpass the so called agreements between Russia and Georgia’s breakaway regions in terms of effectiveness and flexibility? Is it a step forward to the peaceful solution or another beautiful cloth on the same body? What are perspectives of the AA in this regard and what are challenges that still lie ahead?

Academically, this research will contribute to the practical and theoretical debates about the role of EU as an international actor in promoting conflict resolution in its Eastern neighborhood. From a policy perspective, the study will provide updated empirical findings on the EU mechanisms and instruments for the conflicts in Georgia. The research will be beneficial for country leaders, official practitioners, experts and NGO representatives in improving their working policies, thus contributing to the societal relevance of the research.

Apart from the content analysis, the essay will seek to answer the research questions by interviewing the governmental officials of Georgia, de-facto Abkhaz authorities, European diplomats and NGO representatives working on the conflict resolution processes.


Keywords


EU, conflict resolution, Georgia, Association Agreement, confidence-building measures.

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