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Abkhazia needs special status, Georgian Minister says

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, December 1
Georgia’s Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality Issues, Paata Zakareishvili, has stated that the issue of Georgia’s federal arrangement has not appeared on the governmental agenda yet.

The Minister made the statement in connection with his previous declaration that one of the Georgia’s de-facto regions, Abkhazia, might be reincorporated with the homeland with special status.

Zakareishvili stressed that this special status was his own initiative.

“From my point of view, a federal arrangement is the best way to solve the frozen conflicts in Georgia. This should be based on different regionalism, i.e. different regions will be granted different status – Abkhazians need to have special status,” Zakareishvili said.

Despite his position, Zakareishvili noted that the federal arrangement is a long term prospect and the government has not discussed it yet.

“Our task is the present day - health care, the protection of human rights in the conflict zone, our relationship with Russia. Today our aim is not to determine the status of the state but not to make a mistake and not to allow Russia to drag us into a new provocation,” stressed Zakareishvili.

The State Minister says Abkhazia has never been a part of an independent Georgia and Georgians and Abkhazians lived together only in the Soviet era. Therefore, he thinks it is necessary to discuss how we imagine Abkhazia as being part of the rest of Georgia.

The United National Movement (UNM) opposition party has labeled the statement of Paata Zakareishvili as anti-state.

According to UNM member Giorgi Kandelaki, Zakareishvili’s statement - that Abkhazia has never been part of independent Georgia - is dangerous, as it adds credence to the myth invented by Russia, an occupying power.

“This statement is not only a sign of deep incompetence and ignorance, it is also proof that the government is not well aware of its own functions, but it also once again demonstrates that ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili’s team does not have any vision or faith in Georgia’s future, " said Kandelaki noting that due to the wrong policy of the current government, the rights of ethnic Georgians living on the occupation lines are being violated constantly.