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IDPs must not lose hope of going home

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, September 9
The OSCE is interested in Georgia and the international community should be actively involved in helping Georgia in resolve its conflicts – OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut stated on September 8, during his visit to Georgia. Apart from meetings with the refugees and authority representatives, Brichambaut also met with the non parliamentary opposition representatives on the same day. All the meetings were dedicated to significant issues for the country.

“The OSCE was not able to continue its work in Georgia; however the OSCE is actively involved in the Geneva process. During my meeting with Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, we talked about the OSCE security summit which will be held in December, where the problems Georgia currently faces will also be presented and discussed. Every diplomatic measure should be used to resolve the problems,” the Secretary General stated after his meeting with Vashadze.

The Secretary General’s official meetings started in the village of Tserovani, where he met with refugees from Georgia's occupied regions. He learnt about the present situation from talks with the Minister of Internally displaced persons from the occupied territories, Accommodation and Refuges of Georgia, Koba Subeliani. He was given information and was able to deduce what has been done from 2008 until now for the IDPs. He saw the conditions in which they have to live and listened to their problems and requests. Brichambaut mentioned that a great deal has been done by the authorities for the refugees' welfare. “I have information on what is going on regarding the refugees and what is the reality in the Georgian conflict regions. I can say that after the events of 2008 much has been done in the country for the refugees’ assistance; however it is imperative for these people not to lose hope of returning to their homes. We support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia,” the Secretary General stated.

“OSCE representatives were in Georgia in 2008, when the situation was extremely difficult and they are here now, so they can compare the past and present realities. Of course, the conditions are not extremely nice but the situation has become noticeably more positive,” the Minister of Internally displaced persons from the occupied territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, Koba Subeliani stated.

The Secretary General also met with representatives of the non parliamentary opposition. Following the meeting, the Leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats, Irakli Alasania stated, “Georgia has significant support from OSCE regarding territorial integrity. We have discussed Georgia's security issues, conditions in the Georgian conflict regions and how Georgian issues can be set in the agenda of the OSCE security conference which is scheduled during the first half of December. In addition we discussed in detail the post election period and all the opposition parties present stressed that it is essential for the country that a change in the present government should happen through elections.”

Military analyst Irakli Aladashvili suggests Russia will do its utmost not to allow foreign observers into Georgia's occupied regions and will make obstacles for them, “If we look at recent history, several years ago Russia did its best to prevent the OSCE representation operating at the Georgia-Russia border and then carried out its aggression against Georgia. Even though the EU observers have not been very effective here their presence plays an incident prevention role, which is also important as well,” Aladashvili commented to The Messenger.

Analyst in conflict issues, Malkhaz Chemia told The Messenger, “I have frequently mentioned and say once more that Georgia is a part and one link of the international chain and this is significant to how the international community acts towards us. As a result of the events of August 2008 we have been dropped from that chain. For now, step by step we are returning to the pre war position in the chain and will take our former place if the present authorities act sensibly and follow international directives. One day the international community will make Russia act in the interests of international society.”