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Georgian Opposition Slams Gov’t Following Occupied S.Ossetia Leader’s Visit to Republika Srpska

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, January 12
Georgian Parliamentary opposition parties have criticized the government after the Russian-backed breakaway South Ossetia’s self-proclaimed President Anatoly Bibilov and his “delegation” arrived on a five-day visit in Republika Srpska, recognized as part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The opposition claims Georgia’s foreign policy is “ineffective” and does not demand any proper steps to eliminate uncontrolled moves by the de facto authorities from the international community.

The opposition European Georgia party assures that Russia promotes activities of de facto regions of Georgia, adding Georgia should ask the US and the EU for tighter sanctions against Russia.

“The inactivity of official Tbilisi causes more illegal steps from the de facto authorities that are directed against our state,” Sergi Kapanadze, Parliamentary member of the European Georgia, said.

The United National Movement (UNM) opposition says although the occupied regions are not officially recognized by the international community, the de facto authorities actually manage to gain legitimation.

“This tactics is the part of a concrete policy, targeted against Georgia, and Tbilisi is unable to do anything against it. The government does not have acute foreign policy and enables Moscow to do whatever it wants,” the UNM member, Nino Kalandadze, stressed.

The part of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party claims that Bibilov has not visited Republika Srpska. However, the Presidential office and news agency of de facto South Ossetian Republic have posted photos and videos of the meeting held between Bibilov and Republika Srpska's nationalist leader, President Milorad Dodik.

“I believe this information is false, so I am not even going to make any statements about it,” a GD member Giorgi Kakhiani told the media.

Georgia’s ambassador to Turkey, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Irakli Koplatadze, says that official Sarajevo was informed of the meeting.

“Official Sarajevo reiterates support to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders,” Koplatadze said. He added that Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot control activities of Republika Srpska, which is one of two constitutional and legal entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The entities are autonomous. Its de jure capital city is Sarajevo, but the de facto capital and administrative center is Banja Luka, where Bibilov attended the festivities of the Republic Day on January 9 and later, met with Milorad Dodik.

The South Ossetian media reports that the leaders discussed issues of mutual relationship and prospects of deepening cooperation.

The two sides also signed a memorandum on cooperation between the party United Ossetia and the Union of Independent Social Democrats.

Bibilov arrived in Republika Srpska from Belgrade and Novi Sad in Serbia and prior to that he also visited Ukraine’s separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, where he brought gifts to the Russia-backed militants.