Abkhazia: Georgia Favours Peaceful Settlement
Below is an article published by ITAR-TASS News Agency:
Georgia favours the peaceful settlement of the Abkhazian and South Ossetian conflicts, State Minister for Reintegration Temuri Yakobashvili said.
The Georgian minister considers groundless the statements by the authorities of Tskhinvali and Sukhumi saying “Georgia […] intends to use force in order to settle the abovementioned conflicts”. “Despite the difficult situation in the conflict zone, Georgia remains committed to the peaceful settlement,” the state minister said.
In his words, “The Georgian president’s peaceful initiatives on the settlement of the Abkhazian conflict gives firm guarantees for beginning direct talks between Georgia and Abkhazia.” “All attempts to involve Georgia into armed provocations are doomed to failure and we’re not going to yield to any provocations and adventures,” he stressed.
On March 28 , Saakashvili said Georgia would offer Abkhazia an unlimited autonomous status within Georgia, the position of the vice-president and a free economic zone.
The initiative is about “peaceful settlement of the Abkhazian conflict within the internationally recognised borders of Georgia,” he said. “We are offering Abkhazia an unlimited autonomous status within Georgia, full federalism, and guarantees of safe and peaceful development in a united country,” he said. “Abkhazs will be broadly represented in Georgian central authorities and have the position of the Georgian vice-president.”
According to Saakashvili, the vice-presidency will be established precisely for Abkhazia.
“I am offering Abkhazia [the] right to veto any possible amendments to the Georgian constitution and laws, which could limit or infringe their rights to develop the Abkhazian language, literature, culture and traditions,” he said.
“Tbilisi is offering de-facto authorities of Sukhumi to discuss a free economic zone in the Omchamchira and Gali districts of Abkhazia,” he said. “This zone will develop the economy of the conflict area and improve the living conditions of Abkhazs, Georgians, other nationalities who currently live in Abkhazia and the natives of Abkhazia who had to flee the area in the 1990s and are waiting for the return home.”
“These are the widest proposals ever made by Tbilisi to Sukhumi for the sake of the conflict settlement,” Saakashvili said. “Tbilisi is ready to start negotiations if Abkhazia wishes to discuss the offers.”
Earlier in the day, Abkhazian Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba said Georgia ignores recommendations given by international mediators, in particular by the U.N. Security Council.
In his meeting with coordinator of the U.N. Secretary-General’s Group of Friends to Georgia, German Ambassador to Georgia Patricia Flor, Shamba said the world community had no clear reaction on this fact. He said international mediators mostly supported Georgia.
At the same time, he said Abkhazia was committed to implementing all agreements and withdrawing Georgian armed units from the non-recognised republic’s territory, in particular from the upper part of the Kodori gorge that was not under control of Abkhazian authorities after the end of the Georgian-Abkhazian war.
In his words, “Abkhazia is ready to put forth its own proposals on overcoming the Kodori crisis, which is the main cornerstone prevent[ing] the resumption of the Georgian-Abkhazian talks.”
Flor arrived in Abkhazia in order to study the situation and discuss any possibilities of resuming the Georgian-Abkhazian dialogue. She told the Abkhazian foreign minister: “The Georgian government confirms that it gives up the use of force in order to settle the conflict.”