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Will the world hear about the Ossetian outcasts?2009-02-10 09:58
On 5 February representatives from the UN, OSCE and EU visited South Ossetia. They met with the plenipotentiary of the president of the republic for post-conflict resolution Boris Chochiev and discussed the prospects for the next round of the Geneva talks, which will be held on 17-18 February.
"In the name of South Ossetia," said Boris Chochiev when welcoming his guests, "I want to express my gratitude to the representatives of the international organizations, in particular the acting chairman of the OSCE, for his help in solving the question of the gas supply to our republic".
It is true that the "gas blockade", which began after Georgia switched off the supply of Russian gas to Tskhinvali, was only broken after the visit by the OSCE special representative Charalampos Christopoulos to South Ossetia. It was he who confirmed that the South Ossetian section of the Tbilisi-Tskhinvali gas pipeline was in full working order.
Nevertheless, Chochiev noted that the republic still has many problems. As the South Ossetian state committee for the press and information reports, he has expressed his hope that the problems of Ossetian refugees, who, according to the plenipotentiary, are still continuing to be expelled from Georgia, will be discussed in Geneva.
Both human rights activists and European observers are still, for some reason, closing their eyes to the woes of Ossetians in Georgia. They limit their accounts merely to well-worn phrases and clichés, references to the "difficulty of the humanitarian situation" and the "numerous problems in the border regions". Even though the South Ossetian authorities have more than enough information about the extremely difficult living conditions experienced by their fellow citizens in the neighbouring republic.
Back in 2005, after the agreement on the demilitarisation of the conflict zone was signed (a year after relations between Georgia and South Ossetia once again became strained - A.G.), Boris Chochiev reported:
"The Georgian leadership is deliberately creating unbearable living conditions for Ossetians, which not only prevent the return of Ossetian refugees to Georgia, but are also leading to the departure of those Ossetians, who have not already been exiled." Chochiev promised firmly that if just a single Ossetian is given back his flat in Georgia, then this would be reported on the front pages of the Tskhinvali newspapers. But instead, to top it all, he actually gave a shocking report:
"You will of course be surprised, but in most exiled Ossetians' work-books it says: "Dismissed because of their Ossetian ethnicity."