De facto Abkhazian leader “does not trust” Saakashvili’s peace pledge
By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, December 16
Sukhumi will not trust President Saakashvili’s peace declarations until Abkhazia receives “clearly confirmed” readiness from the Georgian side to sign a document on non-resumption of military actions, the de facto Abkhazian leader Sergey Baghapsh said on December 14 at the meeting with EU’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Peter Semneby in Sukhumi. Apsnypress news agency reported that ahead of the upcoming Geneva talks the de facto president has already sent a special letter expressing Sukhumi’s position on this issue to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
The de facto Abkhazian leader criticized the European and the US authorities, blaming them of being “engaged and supportive towards Georgia. “Sukhumi will substantially correct its position,” Baghapsh told Semneby on Tuesday “We are seeing politically immature, engaged actions of the European structures in terms of supporting Georgia, despite the tragic events of which Georgian side is to blame,” Baghapsh noted. He criticized the US officials as well, saying that the “atmosphere, established lately around Georgian-Abkhazian conflict regulation in terms of the reaction of the European structures and the US senate on declaration of the Georgian President Saakashvili, forces Abkhazia to substantially correct its position.”
Amid the skepticism of the de facto authorities and Moscow officials about a unilateral peace pledge of the Georgian president made on November 23 at the European Parliament, the Georgian side considers Saakashvili’s declaration as one of the most important topics for discussion at the 14th round of Geneva talks on December 16. The Georgian delegation, headed by former first deputy Foreign Minister and currently Secretary of National Security Council, Giga Bokeria, left for Switzerland on Wednesday morning.
Speaking to the journalists before departure, member of the Georgian delegation, Interior Ministry Analytical Department Chief, Shota Utiashvili stressed the importance of the Geneva talks being held after Saakashvili’s peace initiative. ”Let’s see what the reaction of the Russian officials and of the representatives of the puppet regimes will be on this initiative,” he stated.
Apart from other “traditional issues”, some additional problems will also be discussed in Geneva, Georgian authorities have said. “We will hand to the participants of the meeting materials about the participation of the Russian officer Evgeny Borisov in organizing terrorist acts in Georgia,” Utiashvili noted. In addition, according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, Tbilisi will raise the issue of the deployment of multiple rocket launcher Smerch in Tskhinvali region, as well as “the facts of destroying” Georgian culture heritage monuments in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Despite the fact that the sides are standing firm on their positions, the Geneva format is a positive thing, Georgian analysts suggest. “Every meeting is a step forward,” analyst Malkhaz Chemia noted. He hailed Saakashvili’s peace initiative, saying that “at last the Georgian government has realised that we don’t need only lands, but we also need Abkhazians and Ossetians.” “Although no agreement is expected to be reached on the issues written in the Geneva talks agenda, we cannot say that the meeting will be held in vain,” the analyst told The Messenger.