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Some Details of German Abkhaz Plan Reported
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 23 Jul.'08 / 11:37

Vladimir Socor of the U.S. based think-tank Jamestown Foundation reported some details of the German plan on Abkhaz conflict settlement in an article published in the think-tank’s Eurasia Daily Monitor publication on July 22.

The German plan - Georgia/Abkhazia: Elements for a Peaceful Settlement of the Conflict, which was distributed at the EU Council’s Political and Security Committee meeting on July 11 makes “far-reaching concessions to Russian interests,” according to Socor.

According to this report, the document does not mention Georgia’s territorial integrity and accepts the continuation of Russian peacekeeping operation in Abkhazia.

Sergey Shamba, the foreign minister of breakaway Abkhazia, said last week, just before the German foreign minister’s visit, that the plan made no mention of Georgia’s territorial integrity, which, he said, was “a positive element.” And Davit Bakradze, the Georgian parliamentary chairman, said after meeting with the German foreign minister in Tbilisi on July 17, that “some corrections” were needed in the plan. “Georgia’s territorial integrity should be guaranteed - something that has never been questioned by Germany,” he added.

According to the first phase of the plan – fifteen months – the Georgian and Abkhaz sides would exchange declarations on the non-use of force, Socor writes.

After this, according to the document, “drawing on existing bodies,” the Georgian and Abkhaz sides would establish a framework for direct high-level dialogue, in which the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) and the UN Secretary General’s Group of Friends (France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia and the U.S.) would serve as facilitators. The plan leaves room for further internationalization, but only “if the parties so agree.”

According to the document, Socor writes, the deployment of international police can be made possible, but again with the consent of both sides; and in case of a threat to security, “existing mechanisms would be implemented to avoid a military confrontation,” according to the document.

In respect of the return of internally displaced persons and refugees, the document says that “the parties [Tbilisi and Sukhumi] will agree on the modalities of their return.” It upholds “general acceptance of the right of return of all internally displaced persons and refugees to Abkhazia, as well as the obligation to safeguard the full range of their rights.”

The plan also envisages “open economic opportunities for the Abkhaz to trade with Georgian and international partners,” according to the report.

In the second phase of the plan, it is envisaged to hold an international donors’ conference in Germany with the participation of the EU, UN, OSCE, international financial organizations, Russia, and the United States to raise funds for economic and social rehabilitation of the region. The return of displaced persons and refugees – Socor supposes mainly to Gali and Ochamchire districts – would continue during this phase.

In the third and final phase, a working group would be created to draft the “political status of Abkhazia.” The group would consist of “the parties,” “assisted by international facilitators and guarantors;” the plan, however, fails to specify the concept of “guarantors,” Socor writes.

The document gives no mention of “Abkhazia, Georgia” – a standard term used in official Georgian, as well UN and other international, documents, according to Socor.

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