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NGOs to pave the way to harmony in the Caucasus2009-03-03 09:43
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are going to take an active part in peacemaking process in South Caucasus. South Ossetian NGOs in their turn are ready to do their best to restore good-neighborly relations with Georgia. Recently it was stated by Dina Alborova, the director of "Agency for Social-Economic and Cultural Development" of the republic.
"The role of NGOs in settling relations between our countries is even more significant than of governmental structures as we have more freedom of action and a better access to different layers of population - Alborova is quoted by Osinform. - NGOs traditionally are capable of many things to ease the tension and provide social support to people". In particular, NGOs organize meetings and discussions to ensure better mutual understanding between ethnic communities and mixed families. According to the director of the agency the only domain where NGOs are practically helpless is security. But if the dialogue is resumed and mutual understanding of the parties is mended the peacemakers will probably have less work to do.
For the time being the dialogue between South Ossetian and Georgian NGOs is in the making. In mid February Strasburg welcomed an NGO conference of Council of Europe consisting of a quadrilateral mixed public committee on overcoming of consequences of the conflict in the Caucasus with Russia, Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia deputing their representatives. In spite of the fact that the parties were not unanimous there is some progress still. Maxim Shevchenko, a member of Russia's Public Chamber commented on it: "We agreed that the Council of Europe NGOs would monitor operation of our Committee, - "Kavkazsky uzel" is quoting him, - many of us are interested in cooperation".
It will be remarked that within Georgian NGOs there are differences in interpretation of the August events. Alongside with advocates of Georgia's territorial claims, as Dina Alborova said, there "are people that clearly grasp the situation that was caused by the Georgian government's criminal actions".
It is common truth that people simply are tired of living in a state of war. And most importantly they see with their own eyes what is going on in the near-border territories. They make right conclusions. At the Strasburg conference one of Georgia's representatives explained why the authorities were drawing Georgians away from Leningorsky district of South Ossetia - to show to the world community that Ossetians "are doing the ethnic cleansing" there.
NGOs plan to present impartial accounts of such "incidents".