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Government to continue working on Occupied Territories Strategy action plan

By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, July 1
The work on drawing up an action plan for implementing the State Strategy on the Occupied Territories will continue, Georgian officials said after the National Security Council Session on Tuesday. The session was attended by the Parliamentary opposition forces, with the exception of MP Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, and Zurab Tkemaladze from non-Parliamentary Industry Will Save Georgia also attended.

Speaking to journalists after the session its sponsors said that the document envisages working in four main directions, the economy, environment protection, healthcare and humanitarian cooperation. Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia, Davit Jalaghania, who also attended the session, said that the State Strategy on the Occupied Territories is an “effective” mechanism. However he noted that the assistance of the international community would be “important” in implementing the strategy. “It is crucial to have an action plan for implementing the Strategy on the Occupied Territories which will be supported by the international community, and we are hoping for their assistance,” Jalaghania noted.

Some of the opposition politicians were sceptical about the part of the Strategy which envisages “creating social economic zones” in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “This may create ‘black holes’ in Georgia,” Zurab Tkemaladze from the Industry Will Save Georgia said. “Creating social-economic zones for the occupied territories not controlled by the Georgian Government might have some negative results and create black holes in the country’s economy. It might be followed by serious problems in terms of taxes. Our economy does not need instability,” he noted. Tkemaladze stressed that Prime Minister Nika Gilauri shared his concern.

We Ourselves party MP Paata Davitaia said that despite the fact that the Strategy drawn up by the Georgian Government is “important in many directions”, there is “almost no chance” of carrying out the plan in reality. “The people living in Georgia’s occupied territories are being persecuted. There are people on these territories who might want to do business, but the puppet regime will not allow them to do so,” Davitaia noted. “Many families need and want to cross into our territory for medical treatment, but the occupiers have blocked the roads and are intimidating the population. Many people want to move freely on the territory controlled by the Georgian Government and conduct free trade, but fortifications have been set up [at the administrative border] to prevent these people from entering the remaining Georgian territories,” the MP said, adding that there is a need to raise the issue of the judicial responsibility of the de facto leaders. “The state should have some plans in this direction,” Davitaia noted.

The Georgian Government adopted a document entitled 'State Strategy on the Occupied Territories –Engagement through Cooperation' on January 27, 2010. It was devised by the Ministry of Reintegration of Georgia and focuses on ways to reestablish relations with the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia through peaceful means.