While Tbilisi is in the process of developing its peace plan over Abkhazia, parliamentarians from the breakaway region discussed Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh’s proposals over a “Comprehensive Resolution of the Georgian-Abkhaz Conflict” on May 6.
Last October the Georgian Parliament passed a resolution which set a deadline for improving the Russian peacekeepers’ performance in the Abkhaz conflict zone and instructed the Georgian government to prepare “a detailed road map for implementing a Abkhazia peace plan by May 1, 2006.” Despite the expiration of this deadline the road map has not yet been submitted to the Parliament.
Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze said on May 10 that the government will submit the Abkhaz peace plan for consideration before the end of May.
“At the next plenary session [of the Parliament] we will discuss the government’s peace plan over Abkhaz conflict resolution and very soon we will also discuss issues related with the [Russian] peacekeepers [in the Abkhaz conflict zone],” Nino Burjanadze said at the parliament’s plenary session.
She also said that the format of the Abkhaz peace plan will be similar to the one proposed by the Georgian government on South Ossetian conflict resolution.
“We will submit this plan to the Parliament in late May. We have already briefed the Parliament over the key principles,” Georgian President’s aide for Abkhaz issues Irakli Alasania told Civil Georgia on May 10.
He said that the strategy on peace resolution of Abkhaz conflict will include a provision on development of a joint Georgian-Abkhaz peace plan.
Although some Abkhaz parliamentarians expressed concerns regarding certain issues of the Bagapsh-proposed peace plan, the Abkhaz lawmakers hailed the initiative and welcomed the fact that Sokhumi was the first to offer its vision for resolution of the conflict.
According to the Abkhaz news agency Apsnipress, the paper contains a demand to recognize Abkhazia’s independence.
Other demands put forth in the document are:
• to re-assess mistakes of the past and apologize to the Abkhaz people for the state policy of assimilation, war and isolation;
• to say no to a policy of political and economic pressure on Abkhazia;
• to give up the policy of economic and information blockade of Abkhazia;
• to sign a peace agreement which will provide security on land, sea and in the air;
• to launch consultations between the Georgian and Abkhaz leaders on terms of “peaceful coexistence of two states,” meaning Georgia and Abkhazia;
• to cooperate in the fight against organized crime;
• to develop modern and civilized methods of cooperation in frames of the European neighborhood strategy;
• to say no to the politization of economic issues, in particular, of the Abkhaz railway rehabilitation project.
The document also calls on the international community and the UN Security Council to provide guarantees for non-resumption of hostilities.
The peace plan reiterates the Abkhaz position about the “counter-productiveness” of pushing Russia out of the peace process.
The peace plan also makes a reference to the return of internally displaced persons to Gali, which is a predominantly Georgian-populated district of the breakaway region, according to the Apsnipress.
“The document reflects the aspiration of our people towards independence… The President’s [Sergey Bagapsh] initiative should be approved,” Apsnipress quoted Abkhaz MP Viacheslav Tsugba.
But some other parliamentarians called for a cautious approach to certain issues outlined in the peace plan.
“The idea of the document itself is very good, because the initiative reflects our demands towards the Georgian President to recognize Abkhaz independence. But there are provisions in the document that can become a source of double interpretation - in particular, the part of the document which deals with refugees. Who guarantees that the refugees who repatriate to the Gali district [of Abkhazia] will not resort to arms against us? We should also not say 'yes' to a railway via Abkhazia before recognition of our independence,” Abkhaz MP Teimuraz Achugba was quoted by Apsnipress.