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Georgia to issue “neutral” passports to citizens of Abkhazia and SO2011-04-15 15:28
The plans of issuing foreign passports with a "neutral status" to the citizens of Abkhazia and South Ossetia were recently announced at the hearings in the Georgian parliament by State Minister for Reintegration Ekaterina Tkeshelashvili. She characterized Russian foreign passports issued to the citizens of these republics as "illegitimate", newspaper Vzglyad reports.gt-en-newsitem-inside
Tkeshelashvili underlined that new "neutral" passports will not bear any Georgian symbols and their owners will be able to travel around Georgia and in future, further abroad. She added that these documents will have full legal relevance.
The document won't be biometrical. According to Tkeshelashvili, Georgia is conducting negotiations with a number of states on adopting such passports. She also made a supposition that these documents will allow the Abkhaz and South-Ossetian youth to study abroad with the help of the Georgian president's fund and other official programs.
In the opinion of a number of experts, Tbilisi's new initiative indirectly means that the Georgian government starts recognizing some special status of the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and their belonging to Georgian citizenship is now officially disputable. Earlier, Tbilisi definitely regarded all the citizens of the two republics as common Georgians.
In Tskhinval, they believe that Tbilisi's new idea will hardly attract anyone. For instance, in the opinion of the Deputy Plenipotentiary of South-Ossetian President for Post-Conflict Settlement Merab Chigoyev that he voiced in an interview to Vzglyad newspaper, "whatever steps Georgia took, no one in South Ossetia will be interested in these documents or will use them".