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S.Ossetia ‘Alternative Leader’ Calls for Talks with Tbilisi
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2 Mar.'07 / 15:13

Self-imposed, Tbilisi-loyal South Ossetian leader Dimitri Sanakoev said on March 2 that his administration wants to launch “constructive and direct” talks with the Georgian authorities for the comprehensive resolution of the conflict.

“These talks should involve the forms of our historic statehood and not the mythical reunion with Russia which has been promised by [South Ossetian secessionist leader Eduard] Kokoity’s regime for the past five years,” Sanakoev said at a news conference in his headquarters in the Georgian village of Kurta in the conflict zone.

“We are sure that we can live together with Georgians, Russians and Europeans in a joint family of different nations, where human rights and cultural heritage are respected and where guarantees for peaceful co-existence persist,” he added.

Sanakoev also said that he plans to launch a movement called People of South Ossetia for Peace with the aim to promote the peaceful resolution of the conflict.

“We will make a breakthrough in the current deadlock only after we put a dividing line, not between Georgians and Ossetians, but between those who are for and against peace,” Sanakoev said.

The authorities in Tbilisi have indicated that the status quo on the ground has changed since the so-called “alternative authorities,” led by Sanakoev, emerged in South Ossetia last November.

While Tbilisi denies being behind Sanakoev’s administration, the Georgian authorities say the international community should take into consideration the “new realities” in the conflict zone.

Meanwhile, Tbilisi is pushing for a direct dialogue with the secessionist authorities of breakaway South Ossetia and is refraining from participating in the Joint Control Commission (JCC), the quadripartite negotiating body where the Russian side is dominant.

The Georgian side has been pushing for an informal “information session” of the JCC. Although Tskhinvali was ready to participate in this kind of informal session, it said that it would do so only if the agenda of the next plenary session of the JCC was laid out.

In a recent development, the Georgian side has softened its position and announced that it is ready to discuss issues related with plenary session at the meeting. If the final agreement is made, an informal session will be held on March 20-23 in Istanbul.

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