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Politicians Comment on UN Abkhazia Report
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 Jul.'07 / 18:02

There has been mixed political reaction to the UN secretary general’s recent report on Abkhazia.

Most comment has centered on the part of the report which calls on the Georgian government to remove a state-sponsored patriotic youth camp from the Abkhaz conflict zone. The camp, in the village of Ganmukhuri, is less than a kilometer from Abkhaz-controlled territory.

Pikria Chikhradze, an opposition lawmaker from the New Rights party, said on July 24 that the camp had never been anything more than a PR stunt.

Originally created for internal consumption, she said “unfortunately it has turned into a source of international criticism.”

Salome Zourabichvili, a former foreign minister and leader of opposition Georgia’s Way party, said “instead of strengthening our international position, we are being criticized.” She was the only politician who had publicly denounced plans to set up the camp in the conflict zone before it was opened on May 26.

Giorgi Tsagareishvili, a lawmaker from the opposition Industrialist Party, however, dismissed the UN’s suggestion. There was, he said, no need “to take permission from the UN” on where to construct youth camps. “We can set up camps or any other facilities wherever we want on Georgian soil,” he said.

Kote Gabashvili, a lawmaker from the ruling National Movement party who chairs the parliamentary committee for foreign affairs, said the document didn’t deserve much attention.
“To tell the truth, we should not have any particular reaction to UN documents. Many resolutions have been passed [by the UN Security Council], many of them will be passed; but we should continue doing our job,” Gabashvili told Imedi TV.

He also said that it was “a tactical move” by the UN to mention the camp in the report. “By including this minor issue, the UN is pandering to Russia,” he said.

Meanwhile, Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian deputy foreign minister, signalled his approval of the UN report.  It reflected, he said, Georgia’s numerous violations of a major agreement on the separation of forces.

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