At the 10th anniversary of the Russo-Georgian war on August 7, Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze spoke of peaceful resolution of the Russo-Georgian conflict and reintegration of the two Russian-held provinces – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.
Speaking at a roundtable meeting on August 7, PM Bakhtadze said Georgia’s response to Russia’s “regular” provocations, barbed wires and other artificial barriers across the occupation line, is the Government’s “bold peace initiative.”
“The Government of Georgia is sparing no efforts to achieve peaceful conflict resolution and sustainable development; our country is firmly pursuing a peaceful path, which is aimed at de-occupation of the Georgian territories, return of internally displaced persons and reconciliation between divided communities,” he added.
PM Bakhtadze then stressed that ten years of Russian occupation “has clearly demonstrated that the situation is not ideal either for Georgians, or for [South] Ossetians and the Abkhaz.”
“Therefore, we all – the Abkhaz, [South] Ossetians and Georgians need to find strength and will to address this [foreign] imposed provocation and achieve peace based on common interests,” he noted, adding that “sustainable and peaceful development of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions is in the interests of the Georgian people.”
“Today, after so many years, when people in Tbilisi, Sokhumi, Tskhinvali and other cities have somewhat lost hopes of peaceful conflict resolution, I would to stress – let’s self-critically assess the past dramatic period; this is the only right step to finding a common ground in the future,” Bakhtadze said.
“I am confident that one day we will definitely resolve all existing challenges together with the Abkhaz and [South] Ossetians and will find ways to live in peace; our common interests, shared past, values and history convince me that this will become a reality,” the Prime Minister added.
Paid homage to the fallen heroes of #AugustWar. Building a strong European state w/ empowered society & sustainable economy is our response to aggression&occupation of Georgian territories. @GovernmentGeo is fully committed to peaceful conflict resolution. pic.twitter.com/A2IVpfHOfj
— Mamuka Bakhtadze (@BakhtadzeMamuka) August 7, 2018
Similar messages were voiced by Reconciliation Minister Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, who said at the roundtable meeting that “the ten-year-long occupation has turned into a serious challenge for tens of thousands living on both sides of the artificial dividing lines.”
“[Ten years after the war] the displaced have not been able to return to their homes; more than sixty villages are physically divided by barbed wires that stretch for up to 100 kilometers and the social, economic, humanitarian and human rights situation of residents of the occupied territories remains to be particularly grave,” Tsikhelashvili noted.
“It can be said without hesitation that the current situation is neither in the interests of Georgians, nor in the interests of Ossetians and the Abkhaz,” the minister also stressed.
Tsikhelashvili then emphasized that despite Russia’s “regular provocations,” Georgia remains committed to peaceful conflict resolution and takes “new, dynamic and proactive steps” to address the needs of the divided communities, including through its new peace initiative – “a complex initiative uniting new and effective measures, including status-neutral ones, to address concrete problems through humanitarian and effective approaches and establish constructive space for people-to-people contacts, trust-building and reconciliation.”