Erhard Busek: ‘More than declarations’ needed in Caucasus

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Setting up a ‘Stability Pact’ for the Caucasus, as was done in South Eastern Europe after the Kosovo war, could help bring peace to the region but is not currently feasible due to a lack of powerful incentives for the region, Erhard Busek, the special coordinator of the South Eastern European Stability Pact, told EURACTIV in an interview.

Erhard Busek was the special coordinator of South East Europe’s Stability Pact until the end of June 2008, when it ceased to exist after having accomplished its mission to stabilise the Western Balkans region. 

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan recently called for a ‘Stability Pact’ for the Caucasus, most likely modelled on the Stability Pact established in 1999 following the Kosovo war, of which you were the coordinator between 2002 and June 2008. Just a few days ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also called for an EU conference with Georgia’s neighbours to help bring stability in the region. Do you think a Stability Pact for the Caucasus is feasible? 

I think it very much depends on what aim this initiative has. The success of the Stability Pact was that there was a perspective to join NATO and the European Union. I think that without a certain perspective the initiative has no chance. The question would be: what is the driving force? 

So you are sceptical? 

I don’t want to be sceptical. I need a more precise definition. 

Do you think that the international community has the same capacity for dealing with the Caucasus as it found it had for South Eastern Europe following the 1999 Kosovo war? 

No. Because there is no common line among the states of the European Union. 

And also because the US is in an election period? 

For the moment, yes, but there will be elections and then it will be different. Every activity [in the Caucasus region] is seen from the European and from the Western side as extremely important, but more than declarations are necessary, for sure. 

Are you satisfied that the Stability Pact is mentioned in another context as a model to find solutions to difficult problems? 

It is not the question of my satisfaction, I think it is a positive experience and it very much depends on [whether are] we able to learn from this. I always tried to teach what was right, what was wrong, what we can use, and so on. 

If and when the conditions are ripe, what should the international community try do first to stabilise the Caucasus region? 

It’s to look what’s possible for closer cooperation. This is for sure infrastructure, border management and security questions. 

How could the Stability Pact share its experience? 

The materials are available, we have even documented them online. There will also be a book about the experience of the Stability Pact published in September. 

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