South Ossetia critical of NGO activities
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, January 25The actions carried out by Georgian non-governmental organization, Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian House, provokes the de facto South Ossetian leadership and misunderstands the situation, claimed a representative of the South Ossetian government on Tuesday.
Boris Chochiev, the South Ossetian presidential representative for post-conflict regulation issues, mentioned by name Nestan Kirtadze, the chair of Georgian-Abkhazia and Georgian-Ossetian House, and her meeting with the EU Monitoring Mission representation. At the meeting, Kirtadze suggested the opening of trade centers in Enguri and Nikozi. Chochiev took issue with her comments, saying her assertion that such centres could relieve Ossetian poverty "is absurd". "I think that Kirtadze and her friends look at [the] situation from pink spectacles and can’t mention what is going on in their state, in Georgia. It is better for them to take care of their citizens, who really live in poverty,” Chochiev stated.
He maintained that, as the President’s representative, he is not against dialogue, and that “early or late, both states come to this issue.” However, he advised NGOs to "first of all, condemn that action [the] Georgian government carried out against South Ossetia in 2008.”
Chochiev believes that NGOs "should persuade the Georgian government to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent republics,” adding that projects like those suggested by Kirtadze will be rejected by South Ossetia for the moment. “First of all, we need not such assistance. Secondly, South Ossetia is an independent and recognized state and third, even Georgian legislation prohibits opening of such... points.”
In response to Chochev’s statement, Kirtadze insisted that "Peace is an issue which can’t be bought with money,” and that the primary goal of the organization is to create a peace strategy and restore "human ties". As for the proposed trade centres, she is going to raise the issue with the Geneva Group in the near future. Yet Kirtadze also agrees that conflict-related issues, such as the reintegration of territories, are incredibly significant – although they require an equally significant amount of time to overcome. "Our organization is working concretely for peace and trust restoration and in this regard no minute should be lost,” Kirtadze told The Messenger.
While she acknowledges that carrying out such "trust restoration" projects will be difficult, she maintains that they are not "unimaginable".