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Refugees: bleeding wounds and legal collisions2009-12-28 15:01
Recently Abkhaz FM Sergey Shamba has been on a trip to Moscow to discuss opening of diplomatic representatives, visa problems and other organization issues. But what attracted Tbilisi's attention were Shamba's and Lavrov's statements on return of Georgian refugees.
While Georgia is discussing new ideas on how to deal with Sukhum and Tskhinval Abkhazia's and Russia's foreign ministers expressed their view on possible return of Georgian refugees at a joint press conference.
As Sergey Lavrov stated these people that left their native villages and towns as a result of wars instigated by Georgian leaders in 1992 in Abkhazia and in 2008 in South Ossetia will be able to return only when legal basis for their return is settled. And this issue can't be resolved in a day.
The topic appears in third addendum to Medvedev-Sarkozy's plan as a subject of Geneva discussions. But Lavrov is sure that the priority of international talks should be security issues. The Georgian side, he adds, "persistently evades conclusion of a legally binding document on non-use of force like two, three and four years ago as well as last year".
"We know what the absence of this document led to in August 2008", - Lavrov emphasized.
But even making concessions on security provision it's simply impossible to take people back with one stroke. It's impossible in any country of the world that has gone through a war. Besides it is directly stated in guidelines to Geneva discussions that return of refugees and internally displaced persons should be resolved "in compliance with established international norms and practices of post-conflict settlement".
According to Russian FM it means that Georgia will have to do a lot of economic and legal work and wait till the "wounds get cured" since now they are still "bleeding".
Lavrov made convincing examples with what difficulty these issues are solved in other post-conflict situations. He reminded of Palestinian refugees that have been waiting for good conditions to be created for 60 years and Serbian refugees "that fled Kosovo and are unlikely to ever come back".
Accelerating the process and scolding Abkhazia and South Ossetia for being slow is "not right and unfair to those who have been discriminated by various administrations of Tbilisi leaders as minority throughout the collapse of the Soviet Union", - the minister believes.