Yakobashvili and Chochiev: different views of trust12.07.2010 | 19:03
Lately Tbilisi has been busy working on Involvement Through Partnership strategy towards Abkhazia and South Ossetia planning to yield first results by the end of this year and setting up special instruments for implementation of the projects one of which is the Fund of Trust for accumulation of money that will be set aside by foreign donors and the republic's government. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed the Georgian side's new initiative directly with Georgia's state minister for reintegration Temuri Yakobashvili and found out the point of view of his counterpart - ROS president's plenipotentiary for post-conflict settlement Boris Chochiev - on Georgia-proposed strategy.
Who do you think will be the Fund's main donors, and what is the state's share in this project?
Yakobashvili: Naturally, the government of Georgia, all interested donors, i.e. our partners both in Europe and in the United States will do the financing.
What do you think is the prospect for implementation of the strategy towards Abkhazia and South Ossetia?
Yakobashvili: The prospect not only exists, it is inevitable no matter what all skeptics and cynics might say. Any political insinuations are out-of-place and unnecessary here. The strategy will work since it's meant for people, not politicians.
There is an opinion that the strategy Georgia proposes now might have been useful but it is no more up-to-date in the aftermath of August events in 2008 and Russia's recognition of the republics. Would you comment on that?
Yakobashvili: You know, those who say so must make themselves clear. For the first time this opinion was expressed by the Russian side, but then Russian PM Vladimir Putin said that we should talk to each other. We will surely speak to both Ossetians and Abkhazians. It is never late to learn, to trade, to provide healthcare, it is never late for former and future neighbors to communicate. I mean those people who live there, I mean people who were expelled from there. Since I don't think this strategy is late.
Do you share the point of view expressed by Russia and the USA that to start dialogue with Abkhazia and South Ossetia Georgia needs a third party?
Yakobashvili: we will always come to terms with everyone if there is no interference. I will highlight that we have been living with Abkhazians and Ossetians much longer than the Russian state has existed. So I don't think we need mediators. I would specify that Gordon (US Assistant Secretary of State - ed.) repeatedly told that Abkhazia and Ossetia must be talked to, just like Putin said. We must speak to people who live there, our strategy is based on the fact that there is a need in communication between people, and we suggest a specific mechanism of this communication.
ROS President's Plenipotentiary for post-conflict settlement Boris Chochiev shared his point of view of the Georgian strategy in an interview with GeorgiaTimes.
What's your attitude to Tbilisi's idea to set up a Fund of Trust to implement projects towards Abkhazia and South Ossetia?
Chochiev: it was the purpose why the so-called strategy was suggested. To seek donors, to refill their budget and build humanitarian feeders for Saakashvili's regime paid by Western tax payers. We would be glad if the Georgian side created basic conditions for the Ossetians that remain in Georgia and paid attention to the lives of over one hundred thousand Ossetians they evicted starting from 1989. Let them help these people.
Do you mean the money will stay in Georgia?
Chochiev: Of course, since we have absolutely nothing to do with either this strategy of this money.
What do you think about the opinion that the Georgian strategy makes sense but is inapplicable in the new political reality of South Caucasus?
Chochiev: we have been an independent state for 20 years. A different matter is that once Georgia did not take up our president's call to settle Ossetian-Georgian relations in three stages and categorically refused to sign a non-aggression treaty before August 2008. The same we see today. But if the Georgian side wants to build good-neighborly relations, it must at least guarantee non-use of force against South Ossetia. I personally think Saakashvili regime would have agreed to that - but there is the White House administration behind their backs. I would remind what Phillip Gordon stated a short while ago: there is no need to sign a non-aggression treaty between Georgia and South Ossetia/Abkhazia. The phrase speaks for itself.
America continues to take advantage of Saakashvili regime for their purposes; they have their own interests in South Caucasus.
What do you think about Vladimir Putin's statement that Georgia must deal with Abkhazia and South Ossetia without intermediaries?
Chochiev: I believe this is right.