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Tbilisi Unveils Principles of Abkhazia Peace Plan
/ 9 Jun.'06 / 14:12
Civil Georgia

Irakli Alasania, the Georgian President’s aide for Abkhaz conflict issues, presented Tbilisi’s proposals for a peaceful resolution of the conflict at a parliamentary session on June 9 .

The document is a list of principles which the Georgian side thinks a joint Georgian-Abkhaz peace plan, or roadmap, for conflict resolution should be based.

The list of principles unveiled by Alasania are as follows:

1. Georgia’s territorial integrity in internationally recognized borders:

• The Georgian side is ready to launch consultations to grant Abkhazia broad internal sovereignty based on principals of federalism;
• Abkhazia will have “dignified representation” in all branches of the Georgian government;
• Georgia recognizes the importance of the Abkhaz people’s historic heritage, culture, and language.

2. Organized return of all internally displaced persons to Abkhazia in safety and in dignity without any preconditions:

• Abkhaz and Georgian law enforcement agencies should play a leading role in providing security for the returned persons;
• For this purpose the Georgian and Abkhaz law enforcement agencies should start developing a joint action plan with the assistance of the UN police component;
• The process of the IDPs' return should be carried out under the monitoring of international organizations;
• Returned persons should have guarantees of security, dignity, lessons in their native language, and free movement;
• Development of mechanisms for an inventory of real estate in Abkhazia, joint protection of property rights, and the privatization process.

3. Georgia is ready to follow its commitments on non-resumption of hostilities and peaceful resolution of the conflict;

• Confidence between the sides will make it possible to destroy stereotypes of confrontation and to objectively assess mistakes of the past;
• Public diplomacy though dialogue between prominent representatives of the Abkhaz and Georgian societies;

4. Georgia welcomes the the direct participation of international and regional organizations in the conflict resolution process:

• The international community’s assistance in implementing economic and infrastructure rehabilitation projects in Abkhazia;
• Creation of special conditions in Abkhazia for the development of the economy;
• Involvement of the Georgian and Abkhaz population in joint economic projects;
• Tbilisi is ready to launch consultations over involvement of Abkhazia, together with the Georgian side, in the EU Neighborhood Policy, as well as in the Black Sea regional cooperation initiatives.

5.  The process of a comprehensive settlement of the conflict should be carried out stage-by-stage based on a joint action plan in “a non-stop regime.”

Alasania said that although the Abkhaz side has already voiced discontent towards these principles the Georgian side is “ready for consultations and we are ready to accept and consider any rational and constructive proposal by the Abkhaz side.”

Abkhaz ‘Key to Future’

Alasania said during the parliamentary hearings that the Abkhaz side’s proposals for conflict resolution issues - known as the “Key to Future” - can not be acceptable for the Georgian side.

The document is based on the principle that Abkhazia should be an independent and sovereign state. According to the document, Abkhazia agrees on a return of Georgian internally displaced persons, but only in the Gali District.

“This key will fail to open any doors,” Alasania said, adding that “the document has the systemized goals of secessionists.”

But he also noted some positive aspects of the document.

“There is no mention of Russia in the document; Abkhazia’s willingness to participate in Euro integration, as well as in Black Sea regional cooperation is voiced in the document,” Alasania said.

He noted that a positive dynamic has been observed recently in respect to a Georgian-Abkhaz dialogue. “It is important to maintain this dynamic,” Alasania said.

“Our generation of Georgians and Abkhazians has inherited the responsibility of objectively assessing the mistakes of the past and securing peace for each other,” he added.

Alasania said the conflict should be solved only through peaceful means and “through mutual compromises.”

Peacekeeping Operation

During the parliamentary hearings on June 9 Irakli Alasania also briefed the parliamentarians about the current state of affairs in the conflict resolution process.

He said that the current Russian-led format of the peacekeeping operation “fails to meet its major mandate, which is the return of internally displaced persons safely and in dignity.”

He said that in the wake of the high-level visit of the Group of Friends of the UN Secretary General, which took place in Georgia on May 23-25, the Georgian side has prepared “several possible scenarios to fundamentally change the peacekeeping operation.”

He said that the Group of Friends hailed the idea of “adding a police component” to the current peacekeeping operation.

“The major function of the police component should become the provision of security for returning internally displaced persons,” he said.

But Alasania noted that although Russia admits that security concerns exist Moscow is taking a very cautious approach towards he police component.

He said that Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, along with an assessment mission from the UN, will soon arrive in Georgia to study the possibility of adding the police component to the current peacekeeping operation.

Russia’s Role

Alasania, who held talks with Russian Foreign Ministry officials in Moscow on June 6, told the parliamentarians that Russia is not yet ready to positively contribute to the conflict resolution process.

“Russia recognizes Georgia’s territorial integrity, but it does not consider this principle dogmatic,” Alasania said

He said that officials in Tbilisi are looking forward to the upcoming Saakashvili-Putin talks, scheduled for June 13 in St Petersburg with “cautious optimism.”

“Only top-level talks can create a positive impetus in the conflict resolution process,” he said.

“I could not see Russia’s readiness to undertake tangible steps for resolution of conflicts in Georgia,” Alasania added.

He also said that Russia’s policy of a universal approach towards resolving of conflicts in Kosovo and Abkhazia, or South Ossetia, “creates groundless illusions among secessionists” in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

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