Georgia approves introduction of neutral passports for residents of South Ossetia and Abkhazia
Georgia, Tbilisi, July 2 / Trend N.Kirtzkhalia /
The Georgian Parliament has approved in the third reading a package of government-proposed legislative amendments stipulating issuance of neutral travel documents and identification cards for those "legally residing" in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The parliament reported that these documents will not be provided to persons owning an identity card or passport of a Georgian citizen.
Based on these amendments residents of the breakaway regions will be able to obtain such documents that will allow them to travel abroad and enjoy various social services and benefits available in Georgia. However, obtaining of such documents doe not mean taking Georgian citizenship.
According to the changes, neutral documents will be issued till Georgian jurisdiction is fully restored in the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region (the former South Ossetian Autonomous Region).
According to the amendments to the Law "Occupied Territories", which is a part of the package, the owners of neutral documents can enter the breakaway regions but they should inform the Georgian government.
Military actions were launched in the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia in August 2008. Georgian troops entered Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia and later Russian troops occupied the city and drove the Georgian military back to Georgia. Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on Aug. 26 and established diplomatic relations with them on Sept. 9, 2008.
The Georgian parliament finally, the third reading, passed a package of legislative changes by the government of the country, which provides for the issuance of "legitimate resident" in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region, the neutral party identification and travel documents to neutral.
According to the Georgia legislature, these documents will not be provided to persons with an identity card or passport of a Georgian citizen.
According to the package of legislative changes, living in the separatist regions of persons will be able to obtain such documents voluntarily, allowing them to travel abroad, as well as use existing in Georgia social benefits. However, obtaining such a document does not obtain the citizenship of Georgia.