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OSCE says it is time to find solutions to "unresolved conflicts" in the Caucasus

By Ana Robakidze
Friday, July 5
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly adopted a final declaration on July 3rd, at its 22nd plenary session in Istanbul. The declaration contains non-binding resolutions and two of these resolutions raise several issues concerning Georgia.

The OSCE focused on conflict regions and in its declaration calls for a de-occupation process to begin in Georgian territories occupied by Russia. While the organization praises judicial reform in the country, it also expresses concern over Vano Merabishvili’s detention.

Clause 33 of the resolution on political affairs and security calls for "intensified political efforts towards generating peaceful and viable solutions to the unresolved conflicts in the Caucasus and the Republic of Moldova."

The Assembly is concerned over the problems of internally displaced persons in Georgia and says it is important to begin the de-occupation process in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and recommends all parties to agree on arrangements for the safe and dignified return of IDPs to their homes in the conflict regions.

The same resolution reiterates the recommendation on restoring the OSCE mission in Georgia.

The Parliamentary Assembly "strongly urges" the OSCE Permanent Council, which is the main decision making body, to reopen its field mission in Georgia. The organization once again reiterated in the declaration its support for the Geneva Talks and says the OSCE should continue its work to improve confidence and security measures in Georgia.

In its resolution the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly welcomes judicial reforms in Georgia and the constitutional amendments adopted recently. The resolution adds that judicial reforms have created a better separation of powers and strengthened the judiciary's independence. The organization also welcomes "the first ever peaceful electoral change of power and stresses the importance of the rule of law" and "calls upon the Georgian government to refrain from the application of selective justice and expresses concern at the pre-trial detention of Vano Merabishvili, former prime minister of Georgia and a likely presidential contender."

The Georgian parliamentary delegation to the OSCE welcomed the declaration. Delegation members say the resolution includes all positions proposed by the Georgian delegation. "The resolution is very good; all proposals of the Georgian delegation were considered including the need for de-occupation and the support of territorial integrity." Georgian Dream MP Victor Dolidze said.

MPs from the opposition focused on that part of the declaration where the OSCE expresses concern. MP Gigi Tsereteli from the United National Movement says the OSCE calls on the government of Georgia to avoid selective justice and give up prosecution of opponents.

Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili, who headed the delegation in Istanbul, commented on that part of the declaration where the OSCE expresses its concern over the pretrial detention of Merabishvili and said he is not surprised at the organization's reaction. "This is absolutely natural. If a former prime minister of any country is put behind bars, we will all ask what is going on." Usupashvili said. "Questions about this issue are normal and they were predictable; everyone interested in the matter is receiving an exhaustive answer and the most exhaustive answer will be a verdict from the court, which we all should wait for." he added.

The 22nd Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly took place in Istanbul from June 29-July 3rd. 57 member countries participated in the session and discussed security, political and economic issues.