The Abkhaz side “perceives me as a ‘hawk’ and enemy of Abkhazia,” MP Nika Rurua said. Photo: InterPressNews
Senior ruling party lawmaker Nika Rurua said in a newspaper interview that “a military or police operation is not a goal in itself,” but Tbilisi’s major goal of restoring the country’s territorial integrity would be achieved either through war or peace.
“I do not agree with the view that Georgia can not protect itself militarily. Georgia has spent 5 billion on its defense capabilities and if needed, we will shoot bullets and cannons; I say this with full responsibility,” MP Rurua said in an interview published by the Georgian daily 24 Saati (24 Hours) on June 27. “But we should know that a military or police operation is not a goal in itself. We have no right to launch something and not achieve success. But the eventual goal remains the goal no matter how it is achieved – through war or through peace. Of course, political, diplomatic methods are much better.”
MP Rurua, a deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee for defense and security, was one of the Georgian officials who met Abkhaz officials in Sweden last week.
“We want this problem to be resolved justly, taking into consideration the interests of the Abkhazians,” MP Rurua said. “That is exactly what I explained to the representatives of the separatist regime in Stockholm. We do not want Abkhazia without Abkhazians.”
He said that the meeting was “tense.” “It was unpleasant and difficult for me and my friends to listen to their position. It is unimaginable to hear ultra-nationalistic arguments in the 21st century,” MP Rurua said.
He said the Abkhaz officials knew him only from his comments on TV and “they perceived me as a ‘hawk’ and enemy of Abkhazia.”
The Abkhaz side, Rurua continued, wanted Tbilisi to lift sanctions on Abkhazia and withdraw troops from upper Kodori Gorge. They also insisted that it was up to the Georgian side to undertake steps that would restore mutual confidence, he said.
“But I responded that it was up to them to restore confidence, because it is hard to trust you when you claim that the post-ethnic cleansing situation is legitimate and should remain unchanged,” MP Rurua said. “Although no agreement was reached at the meeting, I think that those three days were worth while in terms of giving them an opportunity to listen to our non-aggressive, principled, but at the same time very generous proposals.”
Rurua also said that the Georgian and Abkhaz officials were not only speaking “in different languages,” but there was also a “time gap” between them. “They very much look like Soviet functionaries and representatives of the Soviet nomenclature,” he said.