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PACE members visit IDPs

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, April 14
Matyas Eorsi and David Wilshire from the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) met Shida Kartli Governor Lado Vardzelashvili in Gori on April 13. The sides discussed the situation in the conflict zone and the chances of reconciliation between Georgia and its breakaway regions.

The meeting was held behind closed doors but the sides commented afterwards for the media. The Governor welcomed more international involvement in studying the situation the Russian occupiers have created in the region and provided the PACE members with all necessary information, revealing details not previously known to them.

Eorsi said that there had been huge progress in Gori since the August War in various respects. “People in the modern epoch should be able to define for themselves where they wish to live, but unfortunately these IDPs have had this right taken from them. The tragedy in Georgia (referring to the war of August 2008) has left numerous families homeless. All the Government could do was to find a solution which would enable them to live in dignity in normal human circumstances. I believe Georgia has set a model for how this should be done. I can only welcome this, but it is definitely important to return all these families to their homes. Not only Georgia but international organisations should use their tribunes for this purpose,” Matyas Eorsi said after visiting the Tserovani Settlement in Shida Kartli Region to become familiar with the living conditions and challenges of the IDPs there.

“Everything has been done for the IDPs, which means that all the money the international community gave us has been spent on their welfare in a transparent way. This should encourage donor organisations to do more for these families in need. The previous Governments had no interest in supporting others, corruption was common and money was spent in unknown ways. Now, as the donors can see, Georgia is fulfilling its obligations, all its activities are outlined in international reports,” Koba Subeliani, Minister of Refugees and Accommodation, stated in Tserovani. Eorsi said, “We have become familiar with the activities undertaken by the Government of Georgia but this is a really complicated process which needs more intensive cooperation. Although it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation to care for these families they need more international support to meet their obligations fully.”

Eorsi also commented on the issue of kidnapping for exchange. “People shouldn’t become objects of trade. I hope I will manage to persuade the Russian authorities to influence the de facto Governments and make them stop kidnapping people. We have our demands of Russia and have also asked the de facto regimes to take our recommendations in consideration. I hope the international community will do its best to make the Russian Government comply with our demands.” Eorsi stressed that he would raise the issue of releasing Georgian hostages at the meeting with the de facto authorities held as part of the process of preparing a new report on the impact of the Georgian-Russian War on Tskhinvali.

Malkhaz Chemia, conflict analyst, told The Messenger that the visits of international organisations and their promises are all part of an experiment being conducted on our country. “Matyas Eorsi is very indifferent to IDPs issues; what’s more, the fate of IDPs is on his conscience. I have met him personally in the past and I remember his formal attitude to issues. Eorsi also encouraged the Rose Revolution in 2003 and still continues to praise our Government.

"Everything Eorsi is promising us is only words. It is the part of his job to visit our country and make analyses. It’s common knowledge that Russia remains dominant in the whole Caucasus region and Eorsi’s summaries about the existing situation in Georgia will become the source of trade with Russia,” Chemia told us.

It should be mentioned, however, that not all the analysts are so critical towards Eorsi and his visits to Georgia are positively assessed by the officials.