Tbilisi Seeks International Focus on Abkhazia

The Abkhaz conflict was put on the UN Security Council’s agenda twice last week, but the authorities in Tbilisi want to attract more international attention to this conflict and invite UN Security Council members to pay a fact-finding visit to the breakaway region.

On July 27 the Georgian President’s representative for Abkhaz conflict settlement Irakli Alasania, who also chairs the Tbilisi-based Abkhaz government in exile, addressed Security Council members and briefed them about the situation in the conflict zone. Alasania spoke about Tbilisi’s new proposal on a joint Abkhaz-Georgian declaration which guarantees non-resumption of hostilities and also deals with the return of Georgian displaced persons.

On July 29 the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the 12-year-old UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) for the next six months. The document adopted by the Council stresses that the continued lack of progress on key issues of a comprehensive political settlement of the separatist conflict in Abkhazia is unacceptable and called on both sides to participate in constructive negotiations and spare no efforts to overcome their ongoing mutual distrust.

The adoption of resolutions on Abkhazia and the prolongation of the UNOMIG mandate has become a routine procedure for the UN Security Council, as it has done so every six months for more than a decade. 
“From year to year these resolutions are adopted, hence recognizing Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but there is no real progress [in solving the conflict],” said Revaz Adamia, Georgia’s Ambassador to the UN, in an interview with Civil Georgia on July 28.

Georgian Presidential envoy Irakli Alasania, who addressed the UN Security Council, put forward a proposal aimed at building confidence between the conflicting sides through economic cooperation and a joint declaration on non-resumption of hostilities.

“This document is a draft of a joint declaration developed by the Georgian side in which we tried to take into consideration the interests of both sides – I mean the demand of the Abkhaz side about Georgia’s commitment over non-resumption of hostilities and on the other hand the document envisages a compromise variant regarding the return of internally displaced persons,” Irakli Alasania told Rustavi 2 television, but did not elaborate what exactly “compromise variant” on displaced persons envisages.

According to Ambassador Adamia the Georgian side has also protested the Russian side’s interference in the conflict and the appointment of Russian citizens to key positions in the secessionist governments both in Abkhazia and South Ossetia “directly from Moscow.”

“The Georgian side has handed over to the Russian side a list of those persons who were serving in the security or military structures of the Russian Federation and then were appointed to posts in the breakaway regions,” Ambassador Adamia told Civil Georgia.

He also said that the Georgian side has condemned cases of human rights abuse against ethnic Georgians in Abkhazia, mainly in the majority-Georgian region of Gali, including a decision to ban teaching Georgian in Gali schools.

Ambassador Adamia said that Tbilisi opposes the Abkhaz side’s demand to attend the UN Security Council and instead invites the Security Council members to visit Tbilisi and Sokhumi.

“On the one hand, [in case of this visit] the UN Security Council members will study the situation on the ground and get better acquainted with the positions of the conflicting sides. On the other hand, the Abkhaz side will clearly understand what the chances  of their uncompromising stances regarding independence are,” Ambassador Adamia said.

He said that the Russian Federation does not express its objection to this proposal openly. “But they [representatives of Russia] say that an appropriate time should be found for this kind of visit,” Adamia added.

He said that a visit of the UN Security Council would help increase the attention of the international community towards the Abkhaz conflict. “There is no end to the issues that always overshadow our problems at the UN. Currently, debates about UN reforms top the agenda,” the ambassador said.


Back to top button