Tbilisi Welcomes EU’s Decision to Intensify its Participation in Peace Settlement of Georgia-Abkhazia Conflict

Georgia Materials 7 August 2008 13:09 (UTC +04:00)

Georgia, Tbilisi, 7 August /Trend corr. N.Kirtskhalia/ The Georgian Foreign Ministry welcomes the European Union's (EU) decision to activate its participation in the peace settlement of the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict, Georgian Foreign Ministry said.

According to the Ministry, the EU Politics & Security Committee developed proposals to improve the EU role in the Abkhazian conflict settlement. Georgia hails this step, which reflects strengthening of the international community's role in settlement of separatist conflicts.

The EU's decision is a response for the tendency aiming to prevent Russian discredited monopoly in the peace process. The current peacekeeping format, in which Russia predominates, has not provided for a solution of two important problems in the conflict settlement, including safe and proper repatriation of refugees and IDPs and peace restoration of Georgia's territorial integrity, taking into consideration ethnic Abkhazians' interests.

During 14 years Russia has been virtually controlling the Abkhazian region. Over 2,000 citizens were killed in Abkhazia and practically none of the refugees repatriated during the period. Within recent months it was evident that Russia became a side of the conflict, implemented a wide range of aggressive actions intended for economic, legal and military annexation of the region. As a result, Georgia and all international communities faced a threat of destabilization of the situation in South Caucasus and a danger of military conflict.

Georgian Foreign Ministry welcomes the efforts of the international community, which are intended for solution of the crisis and basic changes in the conflict settlement process.

Georgian Foreign Ministry also hails the planned visits of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Chairman-in-Office and Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. "We welcome assessment of the events taking place in Abkhazia by the United Nations (U.N.) Evaluation Group as well," Ministry said.

Those are the steps taken in correct direction - change of existing inefficient format and completion of the Russian monopoly.

Welcoming the initiatives, the Georgian Government states that new peacekeeping process should base on familiarization and eradication of main destabilizing factors, which include presence of Russian Armed Forces in Georgia (disregarding their names - peacekeepers, paratroopers, or unarmed railway troops) and the Russian President's 16 April decree, which provided for a ground for mass annexation of the Abkhazian region.

The Foreign Ministry confirms its intention to continue the dialogue both with Russian officials and the separatists for peace settlement of the conflict.