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Compiled by Messenger Staff
Monday, July 12
Zviad Dzidziguri: National Council offices will be opened in Russia by the end of the year

Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of the Conservative Party, has given an interview to Versia in which he says, "Alasania and Targamadze are considered representatives of the American camp in Georgia. This is why Clinton only met them. However, we are called representatives of the Russian camp. This is incorrect. I simply say that we will not be able to find the way out of the present situation without dialogue with Russia. If that means I am a representative of the Russian camp, let people think so… It just means that the US Administration will not support protest actions.

"The fact that the meeting between Noghaideli with Putin coincided with the visit of Clinton to Tbilisi was not a coincidence. When Clinton comes here and Putin makes statements there, this is certainly planned beforehand. Russia simply says that it will never cede Georgia to America. Likewise, America does not plan to lose the billions it has invested in Georgia. Georgia might be crushed like a small baby camel among big ones. That is why Saakashvili’s Government should be replaced by a Government which will care about rescuing the country… When the Mongols were in Georgia, did not the Georgian kings speak to them? Were they not they occupiers and invaders? Did Georgians not speak with the Turkish or Persian invaders?" Dzidziguri asks.

"Every opposition member, every pensioner, has a constitutional right to express their political position. Do I not have the right to meet the political circles of Russia if I am an opposition member? Our territories are occupied by Russia. There are two ways of regaining them: the first is via the armed forces, and the other is via peaceful negotiations," Zviad Dzidziguri says.

"Public opinion is so in favour of this that even Saakashvili has stated that he is ready for dialogue with Russia. They work on this behind the scenes due to our involvement. We reopened this taboo topic. The fact that this topic is being publicly discussed is due to the National Council. We do not intend to give up taking steps in that direction. It is not rational to speak about the return of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali at this time, but regaining Kodori and Akhalgori is realistic. There are such sentiments within Russian political circles. I am not interested in who regards me as a traitor or patriot, it is essential to do what I believe is right," the leader of the Conservative Party states.

‘Yes, I fought for the independence of Georgia but I never acted like an ostrich, ignoring the dangers around me. Saakashvili does and that is wrong. Russia-Georgia relations contain fatal dangers. I do not only mean Russian troops being in Akhalgori and Kodori but the possible consequences of continuing to allow this, i.e. Russians being stationed in the other regions of Georgia as well. The Georgian people should take into account the Russian statements about restoring relations when the present Government of Georgia is removed. But it is up to the Georgian people whether they want Russian occupation troops stationed in Georgia, an embargo on Georgian products, a strict visa regime and a lack of communication with Georgians living in Russia or not," Zviad Dzidziguri explains.

"There are discussions underway about us opening offices in Russia. I suppose these negotiations will continue with Russian political circles. We plan to hold further meetings in Russia in the near future. We will continue our consultations with Zurab Noghaideli’s party, Nino Burjanadze and the Labour Party on this matter, but our offices will certainly be opened there. I think we will manage this by the end of the year. Our representatives should plan our meetings there and inform the Russian and Georgian people about concrete issues," Zviad Dzidziguri adds.

The War Damages Research State Commission no longer sits

Rezonansi writes that the War Damages Research State Commission of Georgia has concluded its work but the Government has made no comment on this and the commission's report is unavailable.

The fact that the commission has stopped working only became known from an official letter sent to the Government by the NGO Human Rights Priority, which is working on lawsuits filed by Georgian civilians affected by the war at the International Court. The organisation was informed that the commission had concluded on April 24 2010. Why no one has previously announced this remains a mystery. The commission had been set up on September 8 2008, led by the Prime Minister, and almost every Government Department participated in its work. However, the outcome of its 18 months of activities is unknown at the present stage.

"The cases we are working on are classified in various categories. The first includes people who suffered property damage. The second includes murdered, injured and kidnapped people. Our state bodies are liable to investigate these cases no matter who committed the crimes. Furthermore the Minsk Convention obliges the Russian and Georgian Public Prosecutor’s Offices to cooperate and investigate criminal cases," Nino Bolkvadze tells the newspaper.

"Investigations should have been performed. After all, two years have passed after the war. I think we have exhausted the local remedies. We have sent applications to Strasbourg and are waiting for a response. There are suits filed against Georgia and against Russia. Georgia failed to evacuate civilians from the danger zone and Russia is failing to ensure the security of civilians in areas it controls, which is its duty. We are claiming monetary compensation for people. The Strasbourg court will define the amount itself," Nino Bolkvadze adds.