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Alasania meets refugees

By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, March 12
The leader of the Alliance for Georgia, Georgia’s former UN Ambassador Irakli Alasania, met refugees from Abkhazia on Wednesday. At the closed door meeting Alasania spoke about his vision for conflict resolution. Afterwards Alasania told journalists that it is necessary to create international security guarantees in order to avoid further escalation of tension in the conflict zones.

Alasania said it is crucial to resume dialogue between the sides. “It is necessary to start direct dialogue with Abkhazians and Ossetians and begin international programmes to restore trust,” Alasania noted. He also touched upon the issue of relations with Russia. “We should undertake a step-by-step process of normalizing relations with Russia, designed to achieve the de-occupation of the Georgian territories and forcing Russia to meet its commitments,” Alasania noted.

Alasania also commented on his possible nomination as a Presidential candidate in the event of snap elections. He said it is too early to talk about candidatures. “I think this is not the time to speak about Presidential candidates. Now we are talking about the necessity of changing the Government by constitutional means. The time to talk about Presidential candidates will come when free elections are announced in Georgia,” Alasania stated. He added that the Alliance has already started creating its regional headquarters which are part of its campaign to get enough signatures to force a plebiscite. Alasania noted that the Alliance for Georgia is holding consultations with various parties to work out a joint plan of action concerning the protest rallies which will demand Saakashvili’s resignation.

The issue of IDPs was also discussed at a meeting between Minister of Refugees and Resettlement Koba Subeliani and the members of the Anti-Crisis Council on Wednesday. Council representatives mentioned food distribution to IDPs. According to the Council members IDPs were recently given spoiled flour. “It was impossible to use for baking, the IDPs told us,” they said.. Subeliani said that international organisation had distributed the flour to the IDPs, and consequently the Ministry of Refugees and Resettlement would not be able to monitor the process. He added that “fortunately” there are cases when some organizations deliver different kinds of food to the IDPs on their own initiative, and the Ministry of Refugees cannot control this but only give recommendations. The Anti-Crisis Council members said they would tell the Minister about the IDPs’ problems and the Minister would give them answers coordinated with the Government at their next session.

The Council members criticized Subeliani for “ignoring” 14 letters they had sent to him. According to Chairman of the Council Gia Tortladze these letters included the results of the research undertaken by Council experts on the problems of IDPs. The Minister said he had already studied all the problems mentioned in the letters and added that he was just late in replying to them. Subeliani promised to reply to the letters in the next few days.

The next session of the Anti-Crisis Council is due to be held next Wednesday.