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Who does not want refugees to return?2010-10-18 19:50
It looks like Georgian politicians know every street in the largest city of Switzerland. Since the end of war 2008, they have been coming here quarterly to attend the next round of Geneva international discussions. Europe believes this platform for settling the post-war problems of the Transcaucasia to be an important mechanism for setting up new contacts. However, it actually does not work. The Georgian delegation, for which the Consultations are held, would each time harp on the same string and go back home. Discussions last for just one day, which is not enough even to examine the city - one should meet more often...
Yesterday, another round of Geneva discussion was over; it ended up in a break-through. Russia stated its intention to withdraw the checkpoint from the village of Perevi neighboring South Ossetia. Co-chairmen of the discussions made a diplomatically emotional commentary - "a small but significant achievement"; that was the way they characterized Russia's decision to leave the Georgian village.
Indeed, in comparison with the previous rounds, there is something to dwell upon. Russia was the only participant to cook its "own dish" for the meeting in Geneva. Georgian representatives uncorked no surprises and are obviously not going to discuss the document on the non-use of force until the Second Coming.
A checkpoint in a mountain village is not much of an achievement but nevertheless is a real step forward, which was not at all appreciated in Georgia. Local reporters just mentioned that Russia did not need this post and grudges the money for a few soldiers' allowance.
It does not mean ones should not expect Tbilisi to produce any bright ideas at the next rounds. Georgians will go on visiting Geneva to buy some chocolate or Swiss watch, while the heads of the delegations can make sure the banking institutions they have deposited money in are all right.
Russian delegation in Geneva made a bright statement at the very end of the meeting, having attracted the media's attention. Meanwhile, a much more meaningful breakthrough was left in the shadow: it was the South-Ossetian delegation's statement about its readiness to bring the Georgian refugees back to the country.
So far, we are only speaking about the Leningorsky region, which is almost the half of the republic's territory, and that's indeed a revolutionary breakthrough.
Two years ago, South Ossetia won the war, which meant not only destroyed houses but also antagonism between the two ethnic groups, the Georgians and Ossetians. The return of the refugees means huge expenses for the houses and infrastructure reconstruction. It goes without saying that we are speaking only about the people's return to Leningorsky region: in other regions of South Ossetia, there are no even walls left.
For Saakashvili, refugees are the political and, mainly, economic capital. The authorities are going to get a pretty lot of grants from all over the world. Money needed for settling refugees is not only a perfect chance to build another fountain; there is a whole infrastructure. They build houses that are unfit for living and even European structures qualify them very low. One can receive hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid for the people who do not really exist; one is free to exaggerate the number of refugees thrice so that European money would flow in abundance.
For Tbilisi, the return of refugees to their homes is a nightmare, for there will be no grounds for effective fundraising abroad.